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Labiaplasty Procedure

The labia minora are skin flaps located on either side of the vagina. The appearance of the labia can vary widely between individuals and most are not symmetrical. Occasionally one or both may be enlarged, lose shape or tone for a number of reasons such as following childbirth, or the natural ageing process. This may leave some women feeling self-conscious about its appearance especially in tight clothing or swimwear, or experiencing discomfort during sports or intercourse.

Labiaplasty Process

Labiaplasty is an operation to reduce the size or improve the shape of the labia minora. It is usually carried out under either a local or a general anaesthetic as a day case procedure, taking approximately an hour and a half. There are many different techniques that have been described for this procedure. Your surgeon will tailor the technique to each individual after a full consultation and examination, but it essentially involves cutting away the excess tissue from both sides and closing the wound with dissolving stitches. An antibiotic ointment is usually applied and then some pads are laid inside the underwear to absorb any oozing from the wound edges.

We understand that discussing this part of the body is very sensitive and personal, and may be embarrassing. For this reason, it may be easier initially to discuss the problem free of charge and in complete confidence in a Nurse Advisory Clinic with one of our experienced plastic surgery nurses, before meeting your surgeon for a more detailed consultation.

Excess tissue is removed from the sides of the labia and the wound closed with dissolving stitches

Labiaplasty Aftercare

Aftercare advice is given prior to leaving the hospital regarding cleansing the wound area and showering. This can usually be carried out after 24 hours. An appointment is made for the dressings clinic at one week, when the wounds are inspected by the specialist nurse to ensure that healing is progressing satisfactorily, and further wound care and advice are given.

Is it painful?

It is normal to experience some mild discomfort, swelling and bruising after surgery, which usually disappears completely after 1-2 weeks. The wounds usually heal well and are rarely noticeable once they have softened and matured over the following months.

Are there any risks?

With any operation there are always certain risks. With a labiaplasty, these include  asymmetry, permanent scarring, infections, bleeding, irritation, and nerve damage leading to increased or decreased sensitivity. Although these events are usually infrequent, they sometimes can occur.

How soon can I return to normal activities?

You can return to a desk job at about a week after surgery. For a more physically demanding job, or strenuous exercise, we usually recommend 6-8 weeks (this includes sexual intercourse). We also do not recommend the use of tampons, thong or g-string underwear for about 6 weeks.

Will I be happy with the result?

There are very few outcome studies on patients who have undergone labiaplasty. Studies published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that a third of women underwent the procedure to correct a functional problem, while a third were for cosmetic reasons alone, and the last third were for a combination of both. Overall patient satisfaction was reported to be 90–95%.

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