What is a labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty is any procedure to improve the appearance of either the labia minora or the labia majora.  Most women seeking labiaplasty would like to reduce the size and/or length of the labia minora.  Although there is no technical normal size or correct length for a woman’s labia, most seem to conisider an aesthetic ideal as labia minora that do not protrude much past the labia majora.  A redundant clitoral hood is also commonly addressed at the same procedure.

Why do women seek labiaplasty?

Demand for labiaplasty has significantly increased over the last decade.  Reasons for this include:  increased awareness of genital appearance due to easy access to photographs on the internet, and recent social preferences for shaving of the genital area.  Most women seek labiaplasty for primarily cosmetic purposes, although some women complain that their elongated or protruding labia are uncomfortable in certain clothing, or during exercise or sexual activity. A woman may feel sexually inhibited by the appearance of her genital area.   Although protruding labia minora are not technically abnormal, a woman may simply prefer that her labia be shorter and more discreetly hidden inside the labia major, just as some people prefer larger or smaller breasts or a different nose shape than they were born with.

How much does labiaplasty cost?

Because this is a procedure that can usually be done under local anesthetic it is relatively cost effective compared to many plastic surgery procedures.  A straightforward labiaplasty with no significant clitoral hood adjustment can range from $3000 – $4000.  In some cases a woman may benefit from fat injection to the labia majora or need clitoral hood reduction which can increase cost.

Do I need to go to sleep for labiaplasty surgery?

Labiaplasty can usually be done under a local anesthetic.  Although some women prefer not to take any kind of sedation, we generally recommend taking a pain pil and a light anti-anxiety pill about an hour before the procedure.  We also supply you with EMLA cream (a topical numbing cream) which you can apply to the area beforehand.  We find that this combination allows for a very comfortable experience.

What is the downtime for labiaplasty surgery?

Labiaplasty is a relatively easy operation to recover from.  Most women take no more than a couple days off work. However, if you are seeking a labiaplasty procedure along with a Mommy Makeover, complete recovery will be  increased. The first few days you will feel sore and swollen, but very few women experience significant pain. During those first few days we recommend ice packs to the area and gentle cleansing, being careful to avoid tight fitting clothing or direct irritation to the surgical area.  Return to exercise and intercourse is a little more variable, depending on your habits.  You will want to avoid exercise that involves direct pressure or chafing of the area (bicycling, horseback riding, etc) until you are fully healed.  Sexual intercourse can be resumed as early as 3-4 weeks but most women prefer to wait about 6 weeks. Common sense and good communication with us will help ensure a smooth recovery.

What is the difference between labiaplasty and vaginoplasty?

Labiaplasty is a relatively simple operation with the goal being to reduce the size or length of the labia minora so they do not protrude significantly outside or below the labia majora.  A redundant clitoral hood sometimes accompanies elongated labia minora and is oftentimes addressed at the time of labiaplasty.  Perineoplasty is a term used to describe removal or shortening of redundant tissue between the posterior aspect of the vaginal opening and the anus opening.  Perineoplasty is also often performed with a labiaplasty.

Vaginoplasty (often called “vaginal rejuevenation”) is a procedure to tighten the vaginal canal with the intent of improving sexual gratification.  A vaginoplasty should be done under general anesthesia.  Oftentimes a woman who truly needs vaginoplasty needs a full gynecologic evaluation which should be done by a board certified gynecologist.