“Labiaplasty can be difficult for a woman to talk about, even with her doctor. With today’s focus on waxing and hair removal, many women have become more aware of their appearance “down there.” Others are bothered by labia that are uncomfortable in certain clothing or activities, including sex. If you feel like you need to tuck or adjust your labia in certain clothing or activities, or you simply want to change their appearance, you may be a candidate for labiaplasty. We can use our experience to give you recommendations that are tailored to your specific situation.”– Dr. MacLennan, plastic surgeon
Is Labiaplasty Right for You?
Reshaping of the labia is tailored to each woman’s needs. Some women may be candidates for simply trimming the excess tissue and repairing edge of the labia. However, more commonly, we adapt the wedge excision method described by American surgeon Gary Alter, MD. This allows us to remove extra skin and tissue where it is most prominent, and bring the normal appearing edges of the labia together. This way, there is no stitch line along the outer edge of the labia, and the pigment (color) and anatomy of the remaining tissue lines up quite nicely. Most women who have labiaplasty with this method heal so well that the incisions are barely visible.
We offer labiaplasty in the comfort of our private office operating suite. Most women do well with local anesthesia (numbing medicine), but sedation during the procedure can also be offered.
Many women become more bothered by their labia after childbirth or with age, since there can be some stretching out of the tissues. We have also cared for younger women and even teenagers who were uncomfortable and self-conscious about their labia.
Labiaplasty generally refers to reshaping the labia minora (“inner lips”). We see significant variations in anatomy from woman to woman, which is completely normal. Some women are bothered by the feel or appearance if their labia minora protrude or hang beyond the labia majora (“outer lips”). This can be uncomfortable in bathing suits, yoga pants, or on bike seats. Intercourse can be uncomfortable if the labia are long or loose, and some women simply don’t like the appearance, particularly with today’s trend of waxing and hair removal.
When women ask their doctors about troublesome labia, their gynecologists often tell them that it’s normal and they shouldn’t worry. Rest assured, it is a normal variation in most cases, but there are treatments that can help you feel more comfortable.
Occasionally, women ask about improving the appearance of the labia majora (“outer lips”) or clitoral hood and this can sometimes be done. We do prefer to keep our surgery to the external genitals only, as tightening the vagina or otherwise working on the muscles in the area is beyond our scope of practice.
While recovery from labiaplasty is usually straightforward, you’ll still need to take it easy at first. You may want some pain medicine for a few days, and you’ll need to avoid strenuous exercise for 1-2 weeks. Sexual activity can usually resume after about 4 weeks of healing.