Since “down there” is a pretty hush-hush topic, not many women know that there is a procedure specially designed to address its aesthetic contour. Women have generally endured with any embarrassment or discomfort in silence, until recently.
A clinical study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that more than 97% of women who underwent labiaplasty were satisfied with their results. This procedure allows women to alleviate both emotional and physical discomfort.
What is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a reconstructive cosmetic procedure that rectifies the appearance of enlarged labia minora by correcting irregularities and reducing its outward appearance. Labia hypertrophy, or enlarged/elongated labia minora, can be a congenital condition or a result of puberty.
Labia hypertrophy can cause women both emotional and physical discomfort.
Wearing fitted pants or bathing suits can cause friction and irritation and visibility can be a large cause of emotional distress or embarrassment. Labiaplasty can enhance the aesthetic quality of the vaginal region and help restore a woman’s self-esteem and confidence. The procedure can provide great results on its own or be paired with other body enhancing treatments or procedures for even more enhanced results.
Reasons to Get Labiaplasty
Top 3 reasons women seek labiaplasty:
- Cosmetic reasons
- Intimacy concerns
Nobody “needs” labiaplasty, but if labia hypertrophy is physically or emotionally bothersome, we recommend treating that which bothers you. There is also no such thing as “perfect labia”, but Dr. Michael J. Yoo will provide aesthetically pleasing, neat labia that fit to the patient’s body and contour. Women seeking labiaplasty typically experience embarrassment, pain, or irritation when sitting, during sexual activities, and/or wearing fitted clothing. Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure, so the decision shouldn’t be made lightly. But as long as the patient fully understands both the rewards and risks, then their decision to have labiaplasty may prove incredibly beneficial.
There are multiple techniques that can be used to address enlarged labia. Dr. Yoo will assess the patient’s condition during a private consultation and determine the method that will provide them with optimal desired results.
Trim (Edge) Resection
As it sounds, this technique trims the edges of the labia minora that hang over the labia majora. There is the classic surgical technique and the laser labiaplasty technique. Both are quick procedures, removing the appropriate amount of tissue to create the desired sized labia minora. This method is recommended for women who have dark pigmentation on the edges of the labia minora or have uneven outer edges.
The wedge resection technique removes a wedge-shaped piece of tissue from the middle of the labia minora and sutures the top and bottom thirds back together. This method is recommended for women who struggle with excess labia tissue but do not have a problem with the labial edge. It keeps the edges looking natural and puts less stress on the stitches.
Central (Extended) Wedge Resection
This method is a modified version of the wedge resection technique. It takes a wedge-shaped piece from the labia skin, but also a downward facing wedge that curves lateral and anterior. This makes it so the scar is vertical in the crease between the inner and outer labia. This approach also makes it easier to perform clitoral hood reduction if desired since the incision already runs toward the clitoris.
Clitoral Hood Reduction
Clitoral hood reduction is a procedure that reduces the size of the clitoris, which is above the labia minora. This is accomplished by excising lateral hood tissue and/or repositioning the clitoris inward and anterior. Since the clitoris and labia tissue are one unit, performing a labiaplasty without a clitoral hood reduction has been equated to getting a lower facelift without a neck lift. When reducing the size of the labia minora it is best to also reduce the clitoral hood so both parts are proportional.
Before & After Photos
Ideal candidates for labiaplasty are women who are in good health but experience discomfort from labia hypertrophy or tearing from childbirth. The procedure is safe to perform on women of any age, but generally women seeking labiaplasty are between 20 – 40 years old.
Common reasons for undergoing labiaplasty include:
- Desire a trim, neat appearance
- Friction with exercise
- Difficulty wearing exercise pants or fitted pants
- Painful sexual intercourse
- Discomfort when performing physical activities like bike riding
- Labia skin coverage causes decreased clitoral stimulation
- Hygiene difficulties
Please let Dr. Yoo know of past surgical procedures and medical history, including history of genital herpes as surgery can trigger an outbreak.
During a private consultation with board certified plastic surgeon Dr. Yoo, the patient will have the opportunity to share their emotional distress and/or physical irritations caused by labia hypertrophy.
At this time he will perform a thorough examination and, if deemed a good candidate, he will determine a personalized technique that will provide the patient with optimal results. Any and all questions are encouraged; we want to make sure the patient is comfortable with their decision and fully aware of the procedure process.
Each patient will receive personalized preparation instructions, but pre-operative instructions generally include:
- Stop smoking four to six weeks before the procedure; nicotine can negatively affect recovery time.
- Do not take anti-inflammatory drugs or herbal supplements not prescribed by Dr. Yoo.
- Pick up any medications Dr. Yoo prescribes before the procedure; the patient may need to take some prior and some immediately after surgery.
- Make mention of routine medications; he may adjust the patient’s intake.
- Arrange for a ride home after the procedure; the patient cannot drive yourself.
- Please shave or wax the area the day of surgery.
Labiaplasty can take anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours depending on the technique used. It can be performed under local or general anesthesia; this will be decided during the consultation. Local anesthesia will numb the treatment area but the patient will be awake for the procedure. General anesthesia will make the patient sleep throughout the duration of the procedure.
Dr. Yoo will begin by cleaning the treatment and marking the areas where surgery is to be performed. An anesthesiologist will then administer the anesthesia of choice and, once anesthetized, the appropriate amount of tissue is excised. Dr. Yoo is very careful not to remove too much as this can cause the labia minora to be too small or form a fistula. He is highly skilled in removing just enough tissue to achieve optimal aesthetic results and maintaining functionality. Closure techniques have improved to reduce fistula risk and postoperative pain.
Patients will be able to walk right after their surgery, but they may want to take several days off from work to help the healing process. It is recommended to lie down as much as possible as opposed to sitting for those days. Swelling and slight tenderness is normal and will subside in one to two weeks; ice packs and prescribed medication can help reduce these symptoms. Wear loose fitting clothing for a few weeks or until it is comfortable to wear fitted pants; this transition should not be rushed. The patient will be given antibiotics and lubricant to apply to the treatment area, generally for two days, three times a day.
Patients may shower 24 hours after the procedure with gentle, non-irritating soap, making sure to avoid rubbing or pulling on the incisions. Do not take baths or go in pools or hot tubs until fully healed. Dr. Yoo will provide patients with a syringe that they can fill with water and clean the treatment area. Do not use tampons for six to eight weeks. Do not engage in sexual intercourse or activities that cause friction on the treatment area, including riding a bike, for at least two months or until instructed. Any earlier and patients run the risk of causing small openings or tears of the incision. The patient should be fully healed in about 2 months if all postoperative instructions are followed.
As with any surgical procedure, there are some potential risks associated with labiaplasty. Labiaplasty may cause pain, bleeding, scarring, swelling, or change in sensation. The trim resection method has the risk of results not looking natural since the edges of the labia minora are uneven by nature. Straight scars as with the trim resection method have the potential of tightening and stiffening. If not properly taken care of, wedge resection suturing can potentially not hold and cause a gap in the labia, requiring a second surgery. Laser labiaplasty runs the risk of nerve damage or loss of sensation.
For these reasons, it is incredibly important to go to a plastic surgeon who is well experienced in the procedure, such as Dr. Yoo. He will do everything in his power to provide the patient with optimal results in the safest way possible.
For more information on potential side effects, please feel free to schedule a consultation and Dr. Yoo will gladly review everything.
The price of a labiaplasty procedure will depend on the extent of the individual case and whether the patient opts to undergo additional body enhancing procedures. Dr. Yoo will be able to provide patients with a quote during the initial consultation.