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Labia Reduction

Labia reduction is an option for women who feel that their labia are too large or that they're asymmetrical (one side is significantly larger than the other). The labia are the folds of skin at the outside of the vagina, also called the "lips."? A woman's labia may change with age or after childbirth, or they may have been a problem since childhood. In such instances, a labia reduction may be the best option.

Candidates for Labia Reduction

Some women prefer to have a tighter contour to their external genitalia; others are not comfortable emotionally or physically with the size or shape of their labia. For some women, excessively large labia can interfere with sexual relations. A labia reduction is a relatively simple surgical procedure that removes the excess or imbalance of labial tissue.


A woman's genitalia include the clitoris and two sets of labia ("lips"): the major labia and the minor labia. The major labia are essentially the larger flesh over the bone; the minor labia are the smaller, looser folds that are at the entrance to the vagina. The minor labia can be reduced or revised with a simple surgery known as labiaplasty.

Variations of labiaplasty procedures involve different types of excisions and techniques. Each woman's genitalia are unique, and what is appropriate for one woman's labia reduction may not be the best option for another woman.

The Labia Reduction Procedure

In general terms, a labiaplasty is the surgical excision (removal) of labial tissue. Usually an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia, a labiaplasty takes between one and two hours, depending in part on how much tissue is to be removed. The incision(s) for the labia reduction are relatively small and will leave minimal, perhaps undetectable, scars.

Immediately after a labiaplasty, a woman may experience mild and temporary swelling or discomfort, symptoms that usually subside completely after one or two weeks. A patient may return to a non-strenuous job within five to seven days, and she may be able to resume sexual relations within about six weeks, depending on the specific circumstances of her surgery.