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Labial Reduction (Labiaplasty)

Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure designed to reduce the size and prominence of the labia minora (inner lips) of the vagina. Previously many women were not aware that surgery was available to improve the appearance of the labia minora was available.  Today, many women feel comfortable to discuss labiaplasty with their Plastic Surgeon.

It is important to realize that there is a large variation in the normal size of the labia minora between different women.  In addition, there are differences between the size of the left and right labia minora in most women. Patients wishing to have labiaplasty surgery have chosen this surgery for a variety of reasons.  Some women do not like the fact that their labia minora visibly extend outward past the labia majora.  Some women with significant asymmetry between the left and right labia minora may wish to make them more similar in size.  Some women may choose to have labia reduction solely for aesthetic reasons.  Surgery can help to reduce this asymmetry but it is important to realize that even with surgery they will not be exact mirror images of each other.  Other women describe discomfort wearing tight fitting clothing such as tight jeans and certain styles of underwear, while some may find that there are irritations when doing certain physical activities or during intimate activities.

The cause of labial hypertrophy (enlargement of the labia minora) is not entirely known, but many experts like Dr. Beber feel it is simply a normal variation determined by a person’s genetics, just as some people have larger hands than others.  Other theories include stretching of the tissues due to childbearing, intercourse, or chronic irritation.

Labiaplasty surgery is an outpatient procedure where patients are able to return home immediately after surgery.  It can be done under local anesthetic or under general anesthetic depending on your preference.  The procedure generally take about an hour.  It would not be unusual to experience a moderate amount of pain, swelling and bruising after surgery for a few days.  If labiaplasty was performed on both labias, it is not unusual to have one labia to be more swollen or bruised than the other. Smoking should be avoided as it could delay healing.  During your first week of recovery, light walking is recommended to reduce swelling and reduce your risk of blood clots.  Strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided.  The sutures used are dissolvable.    Tight clothing, strenuous activity and sexual intercourse should be avoided for 4 to 6 weeks after surgery to avoid injury to the surgical site.   Patients are encouraged to take several days off work after surgery to aid in the healing process. A follow up appointment with Dr. Beber will be arranged for 5 days, 2 weeks, 1 month, 3months, 6 months and 1 year after surgery.

During your private consultation and examination, Dr. Beber will discuss the various techniques used in labiaplasty surgery (de-epithelialization, wedge resection, edge amputation) and help you decide which technique best matches your goals and your anatomy. 

Complications of labiaplasty surgery are infrequent, but can include infection, irritation from sutures, bleeding and delayed wound healing, over or under correction, numbness or hypersensitivity of the tissues, and the possible need for revision surgery.

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