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. The plastic surgeons at Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery specialize 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 vagina and labia have a unique appearance. For the majority of women seeking plastic surgery for the vaginal area, the labia minora are the specific area of concern. 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.
How Labiaplasty is Performed
Under local anesthesia with IV sedation or general anesthesia, labiaplasty is performed as an outpatient surgical procedure. 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. 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.
During your consultation, your surgeon will discuss the risks and benefits of each type of procedure and describe the expected scars and results. The two most common approaches 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.
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
Candidates for Labiaplasty
Most women are accepted as candidates for labiaplasty if they are mentally and physically fit with realistic expectations of surgical results. The doctor will review the patient’s health history and may request imaging or blood work in certain cases. During the first office visit, patients will be examined so the doctor can determine the best surgical approach. 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.
FAQs about Labiaplasty
Does insurance cover the cost of the procedure?
Under certain circumstances, a patient’s insurance company may cover the cost of a labiaplasty. This is largely dependent upon the carrier and documented medical issues associated with the redundant labia. If a surgery is performed solely for cosmetic reasons, insurance will deny coverage. Patients should communicate with their insurance companies well in advance of the procedure to learn their carrier’s stance on this procedure.
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 day. 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 4-5 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. In women who seek to further improve the look of the vulva, autologous fat injections or dermal fillers may be injected into the labia majora to offer a fuller appearance.
Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery
Our Plastic Surgeons have spent years training to become the recognized specialist they are today. AAPS has been a part of award-winning research and has won many awards. The practicing doctors at Ann Arbor Plastic Surgery, operates in Ann Arbor, Detroit, Jackson, and additional areas in Michigan.
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.