Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure undertaken to either reshape or reduce the labia minora (the inner lips of the opening of the vagina) and is commonly undertaken by younger women – the average age for treatment is 22 years old. Patients who undergo labiaplasty are generally those who do not feel confident with the appearance of their vulva. It’s normal for the labia to change size, particularly after child birth, and as women get older – labiaplasty has a positive effect on the impact of these changes.
What is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to reshape or reduce the labia minora; the inner lips of the opening to the vagina. The average age for labiaplasty is 22 years of age as many young girls do not feel confident with their vulval appearance.
Changes in labia size and appearance is normal and to be expected after childbirth and as women age. For women not confident with their labia, labiaplasty alters the impact of these changes by reducing or reshaping the labia minora.
Labiaplasty does not tighten the vagina (if you are looking for this, see Vaginal Rejuvenation) or increase sexual stimulation (see MonaLisa Touch). For some women living with an enlarged labia can cause discomfort during sex, another potential benefit of labiaplasty.
The websites linked below contain images showing natural variations of size and appearance in women’s vulvas. While most of the women that undergo labiaplasty surgery are considered ‘normal’, they are wanting to change how they look in order to become confident in their appearance and comfortable in their skin.
Who is a good candidate?
A good labiaplasty candidate is someone who is concerned with:
- The appearance of an enlarged or irregular inner labia
- Discomfort resulting from an enlarged labia
Who is not a good candidate?
Someonethat may not be suited to having labiaplasty will:
- Have an enlarged labia majora (a labia majoraplasty is an appropriate procedure for these women)
- Hold unrealistic expectations about the possible outcome
Dr Jayson Oates performs labiaplasty surgery at the Academy Day Hospital with patients under either twilight sedation or local anaesthetic. In addition to this, a pudendal block will also be given for pain relief over the next 24 hours.
The surgery takes around 1 hour with a total time at the hospital of 3-4 hours.
A “free edge trimming” technique is employed by Dr Oates for labiaplasty as it is the most reliable way to deliver symmetrical and neat results without disturbing the remaining labia minora. By not touching the remaining labia minora, a natural sensation is achieved post-recovery.
Radiofrequency surgery is used, resulting in a quicker recovery and healing period. The edge is gently and securely closed with sutures that will dissolve.
There are other techniques for carrying out labiaplasty surgery. Techniques such as wedge extensions or de-epithelialization involve higher risk of unnatural results. These results can include a crease of the labia minora or be more invasive with lower levels of reduction.
How long will I take off work?
Depending on your industry and the level of physical activity required, 5-10 days is advised. Please consult your surgeon directly for their personal recommendation.
Some potential experiences during recovery include bruising, discomfort, discharge and swelling. Vaginal packing isn’t used in labiaplasty and some patients find it useful to use sanitary pads initially.
Ice packs can be used carefully on the area intermittently for the first 48 hours out of surgery. One month after surgery you can return to sexual intercourse if comfort permits.
Is there discomfort?
Some mild to moderate discomfort may be experienced and can be managed with prescribed pain-relief initially. After 2 days we recommend over-the-counter pain killers.
Pre and post operative care
Academy’s registered nurses manage your pre and post-operative care, including assessment prior to the labiaplasty surgery and wound management.
Risks and complications
Surgery on the vagina (including labiaplasty) is very safe and complications are rare. As with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of complications including:
- Prolonged bleeding (up to 24 hours)
- Delayed healing
Resources / Links
Gallery (Warning: Images of female genitalia below)
**Results may vary from person to person**
If I am interested, what now?
If Dr Oates decides that you are suitable candidate for a labiaplasty and you want to go ahead with the surgery, a booking for the surgery and the pre-operative care is scheduled. The usual waiting period is approximately three to four weeks.
You may wish to speak with one of our qualified Registered Nurses prior to seeing Dr Oates. During this free consultation, a Registered Nurse can discuss both surgical and non-surgical options to treat your cosmetic concern(s).