A labiaplasty is a procedure designed to reduce the size of the labia minora (inner lips) of the vagina. Women request this surgery for a variety of reasons including discomfort, visibility of the labia in tight clothing (such as gym gear), or because they dislike the appearance. It is a procedure that has increased in popularity in recent years – probably because of an increased awareness of its existence.
Please note that a GP referral is required for this procedure.
LABIAPLASTY/ LABIA MINORA REDUCTION
Type of anaesthetic
General or local anaesthetic
Length of surgery
Nights in hospital
Inner aspect of labia
2-3 weeks off work
4 weeks gentle exercise
6 weeks strenuous exercise/ intercourse
1 week (dressing clinic)
It is important for any woman considering this surgery that there is a wide variety in the appearance of normal labia, including larger labia. Appearance, however, is not the only consideration. The physical and psychological effects are very important, and this both these aspects will be discussed at the time of your consultation. I realise that this can be a difficult problem for patients to talk about, and you can be assured of my absolute discretion and sensitivity.
This operation is usually performed under general anaesthetic as a day case. Either one or both labia are operated upon, depending on the individual. I use a variety of techniques, depending on each woman’s individual anatomy: most commonly I employ a modified wedge incision. The incisions are placed on both the inner and outer aspect of the labia, thereby preserving the natural “waviness” of the edge of the labia. All stitches used are dissolving, and scars in this area tend to fade very well in time. The technique I use is designed to preserve sensation in the area.
Consequences and limitations
Some swelling and discomfort is normal following surgery. As with any surgical wound, infection can occur, and some areas may take longer to heal than others. A small amount of bleeding is expected during surgery, and occasionally there will be some bleeding/ spotting afterwards. Numbness in the area is usually temporary, but there is a small risk of permanent areas of numbness. Under- or over-correction can occur, and complete symmetry between the two sides cannot be guaranteed (although complete symmetry rarely occurs naturally in any case!). The scars may occasionally be oversensitive, and in the majority of cases, this will settle over time. The incision may partially or completely open following surgery, and the area can heal with a “step” in the edge of the labia, or rarely with a split in the labia. If this does occur, and once the area has healed and the scar softened, a surgical revision may be required if the patient wishes. This is rare. Sexual function may be impaired, at least initially, although this is most often due to a natural hesitation following surgery, which resolves in time.