Labiaplasty is the surgical reduction of the labia. It may constitute a reduction of the labia minora, which is the inner lips of the vagina, or a reduction of the labia majora, which are the outer lips of the vagina. This procedure is largely pursued for cosmetic reasons and has become increasingly common among women and teenagers alike. Some women may experience embarrassment or personal dissatisfaction with enlarged labia and seek to correct it through surgical measures. The purpose of the surgery is to reduce the size of the labia minora so that it does not extend beyond the labia majora, as well as to enhance the symmetry of the labia minora so that they are of more a similar size, or to reduce the size of the labia majora.
Some women may be uncomfortable with their physical appearance in intimate and romantic situations and therefore undergo the surgery to avoid embarrassment. It is also considered in order to prevent discomfort, including chafing, or to avoid being seen through clothing or bathing suits. Therefore, women may consider labiaplasty for physical or psychosocial reasons. It’s important to understand that every woman’s body is different, including the size and shape of the labia minora and majora. Differences in size or shape may be due to hereditary factors, aging, pregnancy, and other factors. The decision to undergo labiaplasty is extremely personal and should only be considered if the patient is doing it to enhance her own self-image and self-esteem, not for the benefit of others.
The labiaplasty procedure is a relatively easy one; it often takes less than one hour. Your plastic surgeon will typically prescribe you with an anesthetic cream to apply to your genital areas prior to the surgery; this will aid in numbing the area before the procedure. You will not be able to drive yourself home after the labiaplasty, and should arrange in advance for a friend or loved one to drive you and assist you with getting comfortable after the procedure is completed. Labiaplasty is performed as an outpatient procedure, and the patient can expect to experience minimal discomfort. Your surgeon may administer an anxiety-reducing medication prior to the procedure in order to make you feel more relaxed. Some surgeons may administer additional medications via an IV or via an injection.
The plastic surgeon will next sketch out the surgical plan on your vulva based on previous discussions regarding the size and scope of your individual procedure. You will be able to see the markings via a mirror or a closed circuit TV screen, and you are encouraged to be as involved as possible in order to ensure your results are right for you. Do not hesitate to discuss concerns with your surgeon or to request changes if you so desire. The surgeon will then administer a local anesthetic in the form of an injection. Despite the painkillers and anesthetic cream, the patient applied, this part may be slightly painful. Fortunately, it is a quick injection which ensures the area is completely numb before commencing the procedure itself.
Your surgeon will have discussed with you prior to the procedure regarding the method of operation, including whether laser tools or traditional tools will be used to perform the excision of tissue. The surgeon will then remove the excess tissue based on the colored markings. Dissolvable sutures are used to promote healing and typically dissolve on their own within a reasonable amount of time following surgery. The patient is advised to avoid sexual encounters, strenuous physical activity, and rigorous exercise for at least one month following the procedure. The condition of enlarged labia is typically non-recurring, and therefore, the results of the labiaplasty are expected to last a lifetime. The labiaplasty may be performed in conjunction with plumping the labia in order to promote a more rejuvenated and youthful appearance. This plumping procedure can also be performed in lieu of the labiaplasty if the patient prefers.
Research shows that the labiaplasty procedure typically results in high levels of patient satisfaction. The risks associated with labiaplasty do exist but they are fairly minor, including infection or breakdown of the wound. Hematoma, or blood clotting, may also occur. As with all medical procedures, the patient is advised to follow the post-operative care instructions provided by the surgeon. Recovery time will be different for each individual based on the extent of the procedure as well as any individual complications that may or may not occur.
The cost of the labiaplasty procedure can range from $5,000 to $10,000, depending on several factors. Geographical locations, type and extent of surgery, and type of anesthetic(s) used will all affect the cost of the procedure. Typically, a reduction of the labia minora and the labia majora will be less if performed within the same medical setting as opposed to having two separate procedures. This is due to the fact that you will only need to pay the anesthetic and facility fees one time. It is important to compare quotes from different plastic surgeons on an “apples-to-apples” basis, meaning you should compare the same kinds of costs among different facilities. Some quotes may not include the anesthetic or facility fees while other quotes may include all costs associated with the procedure.
It is crucial to discuss your personal beauty goals and your expectations with an accredited plastic surgeon. The decision to undergo a labiaplasty procedure is extremely personal, and the patient should be fully aware of the ramifications of the surgery as well as what to expect before, during, and after the procedure. This will help to manage expectations and aid the patient in understanding what she will look like and feel like after the surgery. If you decide that a labiaplasty is right for you, be sure to spend ample time discussing your procedure with a licensed and experienced plastic surgeon.
Dr. Amjadi MD, DDS, FACS
Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgeons
915 Gessner Rd #870
Houston, TX 77024