Labial hypertrophy, or redundant skin of the labia minora, is a condition where the inner skin folds (labia minora) of the vulva are longer than the outer folds (labia majora). This can be problematic for both functional and cosmetic reasons. The redundant tissue may cause pain during tampon or menstrual cup use, sexual intercourse, or workouts. Physical activity can lead to skin irritation and chafing, regardless of a woman’s undergarments or clothing. Even when the labia do not cause functional issues, some women have cosmetic concerns and choose to pursue surgery to alter the appearance of their labia minora. During a labiaplasty surgery, the labia minora are surgically trimmed of excess tissue to reduce the size of the labia, improve symmetry, and reduce physical discomfort. Dr. Ballard at Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery specializes in labiaplasty surgery, with the goal of creating a natural looking and balanced vulva and vagina, with no labia minora tissue protruding beyond the outer labia.
Why are the Labia Minora Enlarged?
Every woman’s labia have a unique appearance. Women may have large, irregularly-shaped, or asymmetric labia minora for a number of reasons. Some are born with extra skin of the labia minora, while others experience enlargement at the time of puberty as the inner labia grow to adult size. In addition, changes may occur during childbirth and menopause to the labia minora and female genitalia. Women whose inner labia protrude beyond the outer labia may experience functional issues and/or have cosmetic concerns regarding their appearance.
Candidates for Labiaplasty
Most women are accepted as candidates for labiaplasty if they are mentally and physically fit with realistic expectations of surgical results. Labiaplasty is intended to reduce the size of enlarged labia minora; it does not alter the vaginal opening. During the first office visit, an external examination is performed so that the surgeon and patient can determine the best surgical approach. No speculum examination is performed. Patients have the opportunity to explain their aesthetic preferences, ask any questions, and go over concerns they may have. The surgeon will provide information on the procedure, including benefits and risks of the surgery.
The Labiaplasty Procedure
The two most common approaches to labiaplasty include an edge trim, during which an incision is created along the length of the labia minora and the excess tissue is directly excised, or a wedge resection, which involves removing a central wedge of the labia minora in a V-shaped pattern, preserving the natural border of the inner labia.
Depending on a woman’s unique anatomy and goals, the particular surgical procedure to be utilized will be determined by the patient and her surgeon during your consultation. Your surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of each type of procedure and describe the expected scars and results. He or she will also discuss whether any treatment is indicated for the clitoral hood. Regardless of which procedure is chosen, your surgeon will employ delicate techniques to carefully reduce and reshape the inner labia to create a thin contour with minimal scarring and to preserve sensation throughout.
Labiaplasty at the Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery Office
Select patients have the option to have their labiaplasty surgery performed in the clinic at Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery under oral sedation and local anesthetic. Whether or not you are a candidate to have the surgery in the office will depend on the extent of resection that needs to be performed and your tolerance of medical procedures without intravenous sedation. Advantages of in office labiaplasty include a lesser cost and the ability to go home immediately following the procedure with a driver without the need to recover from anesthesia. We aim to make the experience as comfortable as possible, and patients can even watch TV during the procedure!
Post-Operative Care Package
Our goal at Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery is to provide exceptional care for our labiaplasty patients, including making their post-operative experience as straightforward and convenient as possible. Therefore, we provide a post-operative care package to all labiaplasty patients that includes everything they will need at home to take care of their surgical site, including ice packs, pads, and ointment.
Insider Tips for Labiaplasty
- Discuss your particular concerns and goals for your procedure with your surgeon to ensure your expectations are met
- Ask your surgeon about suturing techniques and postoperative care
- Explore the option to perform labiaplasty in the office rather than the operating room
FAQs about Labiaplasty
Does insurance cover the cost of the procedure?
At Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery, labiaplasty is considered a cosmetic surgical procedure and therefore no insurance claims are submitted.
Is labiaplasty painful?
The surgical site is a delicate area, and some pain and discomfort post-operatively is to be expected. On the first night, there is usually stinging and pulsing or throbbing in the vaginal area, which subsides over the first 48 hours after surgery. Icing the area on and off around the clock is crucial to keep swelling and discomfort to a minimum.
When can I resume activities?
For the first 48-72 hours, you should plan to remain at home and ice the area (30 minutes on, 30 minutes off) as much as possible. While you should walk around your house a few times each day, you should rest and avoid any strenuous activities or chores. Most patients can return to work at 5-7 days. Typically, patients are cleared to resume sexual intercourse and tampon use at 6 weeks post-operatively. Detailed postoperative instructions and restrictions will be reviewed with you at your consultation.
What procedures are performed alongside labiaplasty?
Clitoral hood reduction may be performed during a labiaplasty if a redundant clitoral hood is present. Your surgeon will discuss whether you would benefit from the addition of this procedure and the expected results at your consultation following your physical examination.
Labiaplasty Patient Reviews
★★★★★ The Best!
Dr. Ballard is amazing. The whole process was extremely quick, easy, and private. She did an amazing job and was very thorough with everything that was going to happen/ what to expect. I’d go back to her in a heartbeat.
Dr. Ballard was truly amazing! I had labiaplasty done. I felt completely comfortable with her, being I was dealing with an area of my body where I was so self conscious. I am so pleased with my results and feel comfortable in my own skin. The nurse Shelly was so sweet and made me feel just as comfortable! Sara at the front desk was great! Dr. Ballard will be my go-to-girl should I need anything in the future. She is so knowledgeable and confident in what she does. Side note: I am a nurse and can be very critical of providers I see for my own health and that of my family. In all of my experiences as a patient, I’ve never felt more confident in a surgeon like I did Dr. Ballard.
Dr. Ballard at Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery
As one of the only female cosmetic plastic surgeons in the Ann Arbor area, Dr. Ballard is pleased to offer the women of southeast Michigan and beyond labiaplasty surgery to help restore their confidence and improve both their appearance and function.
Ready to get started? Request a consultation online, or call our Jackson office at (517) 789-9800 or our Ann Arbor office at (734) 913-5100 to schedule your appointment.