Enlargement, asymmetry, and protrusion of the labia minora (the inner lips) and laxity of the labia majora (the outer lips) can be a source of embarrassment and discomfort. Whether your goal is reduction of the labia minora, augmentation or smoothing of the labia majora, or even contouring of the pubic area, our goal is to make you feel comfortable and to help you achieve your aesthetic goals in the privacy and safety of our office.
What is a labiaplasty?
In general the term labiaplasty refers to reduction of protruding labia minora of the female external genitalia.
Labiaplasty can also refer to enhancement of the labia majora by making them smaller, larger or smoother and sometimes modifications of the clitoral hood are made as well.
Because many women trim or remove their pubic hair, the appearance of the labia majora and labia minora have achieved increased importance. Some women are troubled by visible protrusion of the labia minora, especially when in the upright position. Most labiaplasty procedures involve reduction of the labia minora to decrease their visibility between the majora.
The labia majora can also change in appearance as a result of weight loss or the aging process. Sometimes the labia majora are made smaller and in other instances the goal is to make them appear fuller and smoother. The labia majora can also be lifted as part of a procedure known as a mons lift.
In general good candidates for labiaplasty:
- Are in good general physical and mental health.
- Are non-smokers.
- Have a thorough understanding of the anatomy of their external genitalia.
- Are bothered by the appearance of their external genitalia.
Labiaplasty surgery is highly individualized and you should do it for yourself, not to satisfy someone else’s desires.
Your labiaplasty consultation
At your confidential labiaplasty consultation Dr. O’Connell and his staff will carefully review:
- Your medical and surgical history and allergies.
- Your current medication use including vitamins and supplements.
- Your aesthetic goals.
During your consultation we will utilize computer graphics to help you fully understand the anatomy of your external genitalia and Dr. O’Connell will review the various treatments available to help you achieve your goals.
There are several different techniques available to reduce protrusion of the labia minora and Dr. O’Connell will review these with you, along with their potential advantages and disadvantages, during your consultation.
You will have ample opportunity to ask questions and to review before and after photographs illustrating labiaplasty surgery.
It’s natural to feel some anxiety about labiaplasty and don’t be shy about discussing these feelings and concerns with Dr. O’Connell.
Preparing for your labiaplasty
To prepare for your labiaplasty you may be asked to:
- Get lab testing or a medical evaluation – in most cases simple bloodwork is all that is needed.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and certain vitamins and supplements that increase bleeding.
- Take medication to help prevent infection after the procedure.
You will be asked to arrange for someone to drive you to and from your procedure and to stay with you for at least the night following your surgery.
Where is labiaplasty performed?
While some physicians perform labiaplasty under general anesthesia or sedation, Dr. O’Connell prefers to perform reduction of the labia minora under local anesthesia in our office-based ambulatory setting. By avoiding general anesthesia the recovery is more rapid and the procedure is performed more cost-effectively.
The Aesthetic Center of Connecticut has an on-site, nationally accredited, state licensed surgical facility where procedures like labiaplasty can be safely performed on an outpatient basis.
Labiaplasty procedure steps
Reduction of protruding labia minora involves the following steps:
- A careful pre-surgical plan is drawn on the labia with a sterile marking pen.
- Administration of a local anesthestic (e.g. lidocaine) along with an oral medication, such as valium, to ease your anxiety.
- In most cases, Dr. O’Connell utilizes the “wedge” or “Alter” technique to reduce the protrusion of the labia.
- The incisions are closed with 3 layers of fine absorbable sutures.
- Cold packs are applied to minimize swelling from the procedure.
You will see the early result of your labiaplasty immediately following the procedure.
Following your labiaplasty you will apply cool packs to the surgical area to help minimize swelling and discomfort. In general swelling and discomfort is less with the wedge labiaplasty compared to the trimming technique because the incision is shorter.
Patients are ambulatory the same day as their labiaplasty and are able to return to sedentary work in about 72 hours.
You may shower the day following surgery.
Most patients are able to resume exercise at about 3-4 weeks following surgery.
Patients are asked to refrain from intercourse for 6 weeks after labiaplasty.
Most swelling subsides in 3-4 weeks.
How much does labiaplasty cost?
While costs can vary widely, a good estimate is approximately $3,000-8,000.
The surgical fee for labiaplasty will be based upon the doctor’s training and experience, the type of procedure performed and geographic location.
Costs of labiaplasty may include:
- Surgeon’s fee
- Anesthesia fees
- Hospital or surgical facility costs
- Medical tests
- Prescriptions for medication
At The Aesthetic Center of Connecticut we perform labiaplasties in a cost-effective way without need for general anesthesia.
Labiaplasty risks and safety information
The decision to undergo labiaplasty is a deeply personal one and each patient must decide whether the potential benefits and risks of the procedure are acceptable to them.
During your preoperative consultation at The Aesthetic Center all material risks of labiaplasty will be reviewed with you and you will be asked to read and sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure along with its risks and potential complications.
Labiaplasty risks include:
- Poor wound healing
- Changes in skin or genital sensation
- Unfavorable scarring and discoloration
- Suboptimnal aesthetic result
- Need for revisional surgery
- Persistent pain
Why is labiaplasty performed?
Sometimes enlargement of the labia minora causes discomfort while wearing certain clothing or participating in some physical activities. The labia majora can deflate, sag and wrinkle as a result of weight loss or the aging process. Women choose to undergo labial reduction for either medical or aesthetic reasons, or a combination of the two.
Do sutures need to be taken out after labiaplasty?
Dr. O’Connell currently utilizes sutures that are intended to fall out on their own without need for removal, however, some suture removal is commonly needed.
What type of anesthesia is used for labiaplasty?
Dr. O’Connell prefers to perform labiaplasty under local anesthesia, without need for sedation or general anesthesia.
What techniques are utilized for labiaplasty?
There are many well-accepted surgical techniques that provide excellent results in labiaplasty. Where possible, Dr. O’Connell favors the wedge, or “Alter” technique due to the smaller, less visible scars that are associated with this procedure.
Can my labia majora be rejuvenated or enhanced?
Some women are born with thin, loose labia majora (the outer lips) and volume can be lost over time. Injection of filler material and other procedures can improve the appearance and provide fullness to loose or thin labia majora.
Will insurance cover my labiaplasty?
In some cases, where functional or other issues are involved, labiaplasty can be covered by health insurance. Where appropriate, we will work with your insurance carrier to help you obtain insurance coverage, and there is no added charge for this service.
What is a pubic lift?
A pubic lift is a surgical procedure to lift the pubic area that has collapsed or descended as a result of weight fluctuation or the aging process.