Mr Omar Tillo
Consultant Plastic Surgeon
Labiaplasty, which is also known as a labial reduction, is a suitable surgery for women who consider their labia minora to be too big or uneven. A labia minora that is too large can cause discomfort during certain activities or while wearing certain clothing. There is a range of causes for a large labia minora. This includes hormonal changes, childbirth, ageing or simply the shape when you were born.
Labiaplasty focuses on reducing, reshaping and contouring the labia minora so you will no longer feel any physical discomfort. A clitoral hood reduction can also be performed if symptoms are experienced from too much tissue in this area.
At your consultation, your surgeon will be able to show you a selection of before and after photographs of previous patients to show what can be achieved with labiaplasty surgery.
Women who are experiencing any pain and discomfort from their labia are suitable candidates for a labiaplasty. In some instances, the labia may be enlarged, or one may be larger than the other.
Centre for Surgery does not offer this procedure to women who are below 18 years old, as your labia will still be growing and developing. It is rare for anyone under the age of 21 to be accepted for a labiaplasty.
Labiaplasty is specialised surgery that will take around two hours to complete. Before the surgery begins, a local anaesthetic will be injected using tiny needles to fully numb the areas to be treated, although you also have the option of being asleep for the procedure with our innovative ClearSleep™ anaesthesia technique. With both techniques, you will not feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure.
The labiaplasty procedure involves reshaping the labia minora using precise dissection techniques. Any unwanted tissue is accurately removed. There are a number of surgical methods available for labiaplasty surgery. Your surgeon will discuss with you the most appropriate technique applicable to you.
Direct excision is performed most frequently. It involves removal of the labial tissue protruding through the labia majora and re-approximation of the edges. The technique creates a straight scar along the labial edge and removes the labial border. The wedge excision technique can preserve the labial border although there may be colour changes once the trimmed edges are sutured together.
For mild to moderate labial tissue resection, the depithelialisation technique is an appropriate option. The technique reduces the length of the labia whilst also preserving the labial border. This can create a more aesthetically pleasing appearance in addition to correction of the functional symptoms which many women experience.
Clitoroplasty surgery is also an option for those who desire a clitoral hood reduction and this is performed at the same time as the labia minora are excised.
After the procedure, you may experience some pain and discomfort in the genital area. Bruising and swelling are common side effects. This may last for several weeks. You can use ice packs to reduce any swelling or take pain medication to help alleviate discomfort.
You will be advised that you should wear a pad – not tampons – for one week or until any bleeding stops. It is also recommended to wear loose cotton underwear during this time. You may find that during recovery after surgery, passing water may be slightly uncomfortable although this is temporary in nature.
You will need to take about five days off work, and you will have to avoid any heavy exercise for 10 days. You will be able to resume your normal sexual activity about six weeks later. It is important to keep the genital area clean during the recovery period in order to reduce the risk of infection occurring. An antibiotic ointment should be applied to the area twice daily after your procedure.
Some potential complications, although rare and treatable, may include:
There are several candidates who are appropriate for a labiaplasty. Some women have an enlarged labia minora, which can cause painful inflammation, chaffing, pain during intercourse or while inserting tampons. Women may often have one labia that is larger than the other, with surgery being a good option in this instance.
Having your labiaplasty in London gives you access to specialist surgeons who perform this surgery on a regular basis and are therefore experienced to manage all aspects of your care.
At Centre for Surgery, no surgery is offered to anyone below the age of 18. At this age, your labia will still be growing and developing, and will continue to do so until early adulthood. In practice, it is uncommon for anyone under the age of 21 to be accepted for this procedure.
Our surgeons will perform surgery on those with associated functional symptoms such as pain, or excessive chaffing in addition to aesthetic considerations.
Surgery purely for aesthetic enhancement is not recommended.
As labiaplasty is a surgical procedure, possible risks include bleeding, infection, scarring and reduced sensitivity. It is important patients understand the procedure and the outcomes they will receive prior to the surgery. Some patients desire an aggressive reduction, which can have side effects such as chronic dryness, discomfort and pain during intercourse. You can discuss with your surgeon the best ways to avoid any complications occurring after the procedure has been completed.
While a labiaplasty is a fairly complex surgery, it usually takes 1-2 hours depending on the amount of tissue to be removed. Actual time frames vary from each patient and depending on what needs to be done, but the procedure is a day surgery, with a few hours required afterwards for recovery. Patients will be able to return home the same day.