What is labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is surgery to reduce the size of a woman’s labia — the two sets of skin folds (“lips”) surrounding the vagina and urethra. (It’s one of a few procedures that are sometimes called “vaginal rejuvenation.”)
Many of our patients who request this procedure don’t like the look or feel of their labia minora (the hairless, inner set of lips right next to the vaginal opening). Some women are born with large or asymmetrical labia minora. Others develop enlarged labia minora after pregnancy, aging or weight gain.
Because this excess tissue may hang down from the groin area, it can become pinched or twisted during certain activities. You may experience the following:
- Pain or irritation during sex
- Pain or soreness while exercising
- Discomfort when wearing snug underwear or bikini bottoms
Some women with enlarged labia minora also have aesthetic or emotional concerns. These include the following:
- Feeling embarrassed or less confident during intimacy
- Feeling self-conscious about wearing tight-fitting yoga pants or leggings
Whatever your concerns, the cosmetic surgery experts at Rush can help. We'll address your concerns and help you feel more comfortable and confident.
How does labiaplasty work?
Labiaplasty can be performed in an outpatient (office) setting with local anesthesia (while you’re awake), or in the hospital (while asleep or sedated). You and your doctor will discuss which option is right for you, based on your comfort level and budget.
Many Rush patients choose to have their labiaplasty in one of our outpatient clinics, because it’s less expensive; you won’t have to pay for certain hospital fees, such as anesthesiology services.
If you choose this option, you can rest assured we’ll keep you comfortable during the procedure. We’ll start by applying a topical numbing cream to the labia, then inject a stronger numbing medicine (lidocaine plus epinephrine).
There are two main types of labiaplasty:
- Trim procedure: We remove a predetermined amount of tissue from the outer edges of the labia minora.
- Wedge procedure: We remove a pie-shaped piece of tissue from the center of both lips, then close the incisions with sutures that will dissolve on their own (so they won’t need to be taken out). This leaves the outer edges of the labia minora intact, which usually produces more natural-looking results.
No matter which technique your doctor uses, your procedure should take about two to three hours from start to finish.
How long does it take to recover from labiaplasty?
It will take about six weeks for post-surgical pain and swelling to go away. During this time, you’ll need to:
- Keep the surgical area as clean as possible
- Wear loose-fitting pants and underwear
- Avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise
- Avoid having sex
Your doctor will give you a complete list of care instructions. Following these instructions will help you heal more quickly, with a lower risk of infection and other complications.
Frequently Asked Questions About Labiaplasty
A. Labiaplasty is intended to permanently reduce the size of your labia. Unless you develop complications that require additional surgery, you shouldn’t need to have this procedure again. However, keep in mind that pregnancy and childbirth could affect your results.
A. You may have minor bleeding for the first few days after surgery. You may also experience pain, swelling or bruising that lasts several weeks or longer. Most women are able to return to their normal activities six weeks after their labiaplasty.
A. As with any surgical procedure, labiaplasty comes with a risk of complications. These include prolonged bleeding, scarring, pain and infection of the surgical wound. In some cases, because the labial tissue is so delicate (and can take longer to heal), one of the surgical incisions may reopen. This could require additional stitches or surgery to close or repair the wound.
A. Because labiaplasty is considered cosmetic surgery, your health insurance company will probably not cover it. You should plan to pay for the full cost of the procedure. Before we schedule your labiaplasty, we will give you a price estimate so you can anticipate your out-of-pocket costs. We also offer payment plans for patients who can’t pay the full cost of their procedure up front.