What are labia minora?
Before considering this surgery, it is important to know exactly what area this is targeting. The vulva is all of the female exterior genitalia. This includes two sets of labia – the labia majora, which is on the outside and is where hair grows, and the labia minora, on the inside. A labiaplasty is performed on the labia minora.
Why do you need a labia reduction?
Many people feel the need for a labia reduction for aesthetic reasons. Some women are born with a large or uneven labia minora, while some women’s labia’s can change size as the result of hormonal changes, childbirth or ageing.
In some instances, women will want a labia reduction for reasons other than aesthetics. Sometimes the labia will be causing physical pain or discomfort. This can occur while undergoing certain activities, including sexual intercourse, or when wearing certain clothing. Undergoing a labia reduction can reduce this discomfort. This is generally the most accepted reason for wanting to have a labia reduction.
RELATED: Can large labias be reduced in size?
Who is an appropriate candidate for a labia reduction?
To have a labia reduction, you will need to:
- Be 18 years or older. However, most surgeons will not operate on someone who is younger than 21.
- Be experiencing pain and discomfort from the labia minora.
- Have realistic expectations of what the procedure can achieve.
- Understand the risks associated with the procedure.
Surgeons will also need to ensure that you are undertaking the procedure for the right reasons. Your labia will be examined, and if the surgeon decides there is nothing aesthetically wrong and it is not causing any physical pain, the procedure may not go ahead.
What is involved in a labia reduction?
A labiaplasty can be performed under a local anaesthetic. However, if you do not wish to be awake for the procedure, you can be administered TIVA anaesthetic. This means that you will be asleep for the procedure, but unlike other general anaesthetics, you will not be relying on volatile gases to keep you asleep.
The labiaplasty involves cutting away the unwanted tissue from the vaginal lips. The ends may need to be closed using dissolvable stitches.
The labia reduction will take one to two hours to complete.
What is the recovery period like?
After the surgery, it is normal to experience some pain and discomfort, as well as bruising and swelling. You will be given medication which can help to alleviate symptoms. If necessary, you can also use ice packs to help reduce swelling. This should last around two weeks.
You may need to wear a pad for one week following the procedure, or until any bleeding stops.
You will need to take about five days off work in order to recover. You will need to avoid any strenuous physical exercise for about 10 days. You can resume any sexual intercourse after six weeks.
Are there any risks with labia reduction?
There are numerous rare risks which may occur as the result of labia reduction, including:
- Reduced genitalia sensitivity
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Easier tearing during future vaginal births.
Centre for Surgery takes all precautions to ensure the risks of these rare side effects are minimised.
How to choose the best labia reduction surgeon
When considering having labiaplasty surgery, it is vital to seek a highly qualified and experienced surgeon with many years of experience. The ideal surgeon should be fully trained in all techniques of labia surgery including the trim method, the wedge method and the deepithelialisation method. They should be able to match the correct technique to your presenting condition. They should also be highly skilled in managing all the potential risks and complications of labiaplasty surgery.
The face-to-face consultation serves as an ideal opportunity to explain what happens both before during and after the procedure. Many patients are concerned about possible pain in the recovery period. Your surgeon will be able to explain all the pain management strategies which can be used to optimise your recovery.
Many patients ask us who is the best type of specialist for labiaplasty surgery. The two types of doctors who carry out labiaplasty surgery are gynaecologists and plastic surgeons. We believe that gynaecologists are inherently better trained to carry out labiaplasty surgery as they are specialists in the female genitalia and do not perform any other type of cosmetic surgery such as rhinoplasty, breast augmentation or liposuction.
Surgeons who carry out labia reduction surgery should have an extensive collection of labia reduction before and after photos for you to view which can enable you to form an accurate impression of how you could look after surgery. You should also view patient testimonials on accredited review websites such as Trustpilot.
Patient selection is a fundamental component of achieving excellent outcomes following surgery. The skilled surgeon will take a holistic view of your overall mental and physical health when deciding on your suitability for labiaplasty surgery. Patients who have chronic uncontrolled medical conditions may not be ideal candidates for labiaplasty and your surgeon should be able to identify this and advise you against surgery.
Specialist doctors who carry out labiaplasty surgery should be on the GMC specialist register which you can check on the GMC website. Surgeons should also belong to a specialist organisation such as the European Academy of Aesthetic Gynaecology or the British Association of Plastic Surgeons.