Is Labiaplasty Right for You?

Labiaplasty has become a very popular procedure in the past few years. Some women are bothered by the feel or appearance of their labia minora protruding or hanging beyond the labia majora (outer vaginal lips). This can be uncomfortable in bathing suits, yoga pants, or on bike seats. Intercourse can also be uncomfortable if the labia are long or loose. Some women simply don’t like the appearance of extended labia, particularly with today’s trend of waxing and hair removal that puts the focus on the genital area. Our goal is to make every woman comfortable enough to discuss her personal concerns and help her find solutions adapted to her specific needs.


The Right Procedure

Reshaping of the labia is tailored to each individual woman. Some women may be candidates for simply trimming the excess tissue and repairing the edges of the labia. However, we more frequently adopt the wedge excision method originally 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, but sedation can also be offered during the procedure for our patients who are more anxious about surgery.


The Right Patient

Women may become more bothered by their labia after childbirth or with age, since there can be some stretching out of the tissues as a result of these events. We have also cared for younger women and even teenagers who were uncomfortable and self-conscious about their labia. If you are uncomfortable with the look of your labia or you are experiencing irritation and discomfort as a result of certain types of clothing or activities, labiaplasty may be the right choice for you.


The Right Reasons

Labiaplasty generally refers to reshaping the labia minora, which are the inner vaginal lips. We see significant variations in anatomy from woman to woman, which is completely normal. Some women are bothered by the feel or appearance of labia minora that protrude or hang beyond the labia majora (outer vaginal lips). This can make bathing suits, yoga pants and bike seats uncomfortable. It can also lead to painful intercourse, interfering with a woman’s personal relationships. Some women simply don’t like the appearance of their labia, particularly with today’s trend of waxing and hair removal.

When women ask their gynecologists about troublesome labia, they are often told 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.


The Right Time

While recovery from labiaplasty is usually straightforward, you will still need to take it easy at first. You may want some pain medicine for a few days, and you will need to avoid strenuous exercise for 1-2 weeks. Sexual activity can usually resume after about 4 weeks of healing.

Labiaplasty is a procedure that offers both cosmetic benefits and relief from uncomfortable symptoms associated with enlarged labia. To discuss this procedure further, schedule your private consultation by phoning Banff Plastic Surgery at 403-762-2055.

Let us answer your questions


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Labiaplasty FAQ

Why are my labia minora so long?

We see many different variations in female anatomy every day. During puberty, the inner labia, or labia minora, grow to adult size. Childbirth and aging can also lead to changes in the appearance of the labia minora and female genitalia. These changes can include enlargement of the labia minora, tears in the minora, and generalized looseness of the tissues. Labiaplasty can address many of these concerns by giving you a “neater,” tucked-in look.

What labiaplasty techniques do you use?

Every woman’s anatomy is a bit different, so we will adapt the technique to your particular anatomy and your desires. We have extensive experience with both edge trim and wedge/extended wedge techniques, as well as the lesser-known de-epithelialization technique that is a variation of the wedge. We’ll explain the pros and cons of each approach and give you an honest opinion based on our experience.

How soon can I go back to work and exercise?

Labiaplasty is a well-tolerated procedure, but it’s still surgery. We recommend taking 3-7 days off work and normal activities so that you can rest, ice, and heal. After about 2 weeks, you can begin to exercise again.

What about the extra skin around my clitoris?

Many women have elongated labia in combination with bulky skin around the clitoris that also protrudes and makes them feel self-conscious. This tissue can be contoured as part of the extended wedge labiaplasty, hiding the incisions inconspicuously in the crease between the inner and outer labia. Contouring the sides of the clitoral hood can improve the proportions of the vulva and help provide that “tucked in” appearance you’re looking for.

What risks should I be aware of?

As with any surgery, labiaplasty carries some risks. Bleeding, infection, and opening of the incision can happen, but are fairly uncommon. Scarring can be noticeable, especially if tight stitches are placed during a trim procedure. For this reason, we prefer to use buried stitches and a wedge technique in many cases. The sensory nerves to the clitoris run much deeper than the incisions, and studies have shown that labiaplasty is unlikely to decrease sexual sensation.