The appearance of the female genitals can vary greatly from woman to woman. While there is no single “correct” genital shape, many women turn to plastic surgery to correct asymmetry or reduce the size of their labia (the “lips” surrounding the vagina). Labiaplasty (labial reduction) is a surgical cosmetic procedure that can improve the look and function of the labia.
There are two parts of the labia: the labia majora and the labia minora. The labia majora (the outer vaginal lips) is the portion of the labia that is on the outside of the body, usually covered with pubic hair. The labia minora (the smaller, inner vaginal lips) is the portion of the labia that covers the clitoris and vagina. Sexual activity, childbirth, hormones, or age can sometimes cause the labia to be stretched or become loose. An oversized labia can cause discomfort with clothes, sexual intercourse, and exercise. In addition, it can cause hygiene problems and cause a woman to feel self-consciousness due to her labia’s appearance. A labiaplasty is used to remove extra skin and reshape the labia to give it a cosmetically prettier appearance. Labiaplasty can be performed alone or with a vaginoplasty, which tightens loose or stretched vaginal tissue.
Dr. Chin is a board certified plastic surgeon experienced in performing labiaplasty at his plastic surgery practice in Fresno, California.
Labiaplasty Ideal Candidate
Candidates for this procedure usually are unhappy with the size or shape of their labia for either functional or cosmetic reasons. The ideal candidate is not pregnant, does not smoke, has not had complications from an episiotomy, and is in good physical health. Although there is no age requirement to undergo a labiaplasty, it is best for the candidate to wait until after she has had children because childbirth can cause the labia to stretch.
Labiaplasty is performed with either local or general anesthetic. The excess skin is measured and marked for symmetry, and is then removed. Bleeding is controlled and absorbable sutures are used to close the incisions. The procedure takes one to two hours to complete.
Labiaplasty Pain and Recovery
Dr. Chin will give you oral medication that will help alleviate pain in the days following the procedure. Pain should lessen each day, and should subside after about ten days. This is the ideal amount of time you should request off from work, depending on your occupation. Expect some swelling after surgery. There will also be scarring with labiaplasty; however, the scars will not be very noticeable and will fade with time. Regular exercise and sexual activity can resume after six weeks.
As with any surgery, there are some risks involved with labiaplasty:
- Tight scars can occur and make vaginal penetration painful.
- Incisions can possibly open before they are fully healed.
- Nerve damage or hypersensitivity can impair sexual arousal and pleasure.
- Excess bleeding can occur due to the large number of blood vessels within the labia.
Dr. Chin can review these risks with you in further detail and help you decide if a labiaplasty is right for you. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Chin, please fill out our contact form or call (559) 435-9646.