Labaiaplasty is a rapidly growing subspecialty in plastic surgery with an almost 70% increase in the number of patients requesting this type of surgery in the UK over recent years. Procedures may be to reconstruct normal anatomy or to rejuvenate the appearance.
Who is suitable?
Female patients who have concerns about the appearance or function of their external genitalia are suitable for surgery. The main areas of complaint are classified as: discomfort with sports or clothing, labial entrapment with sexual intercourse, perceived enlargement or asymmetry of the labia or genital changes due to child birth.
What does the operation involve?
The operation can be carried out under local or general anaesthesia as a day case, depending on the complexity of the case. There are several variations of the procedure and I will choose the most suitable one for your anatomy. This may include reduction of labia minora or majora (inner and outer ‘lips’ of the vaginal opening), as well as augmentation with fat transfers to address age related atrophy (flattening and sagging of the labia majora). The reduction involves removing a segment of the labia. The incisions are sutured with absorbable stitches.
What happens after the operation?
Normally patients go home the same day after the operation. They are encouraged to mobilise after the operation, discomfort permitting. Patients can expect to be off work and driving for 2-4 weeks. Full recovery takes from 4-6 weeks, sexual and sporting activities can resume after 6 weeks.
How long do the results last?
The benefits of a labiaplasty usually last a life time.
What are the risks?
Risks include minor wound infection, wound delayed healing and bleeding. There will be swelling and tenderness in the days after surgery and there may be a minor degree of asymmetry.
The above diagram shows the general appearance of the vulva which consists of the entrance to the vagina (introitus), the surrounding labia minora and the clitoris underneath it’s clitoral hood at the top. The shape and size of labia minora vary enormously between individuals and asymmetry of the labia is the norm. The size and shape of labia may change with pregnancy.
Labiaplasty trim technique.
This technique is suitable for most patients. It leaves a scar along the free edge of the labia. The dashed black line shows the incision.
Labiaplasty post trim technique.
This diagram shows the scar in red along the free edge of the labia.
Labiaplasty wedge technique.
This technique is suitable for labia that are mainly excessive in the middle sections. The dashed blackline shows the incision.
Labiaplasty post wedge technique.
The red line on this diagram shows the position of the scar after wedge excision labiaplasty. The advantage of this technique is that it avoids a scar along the free edge of the labia. However, healing problems are more likely than with the trim technique.