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A labiaplasty is a surgical revision of the labia, the skin folds or "lips"? at the opening of the vagina. Some women have labia that they feel are too large, loose, or asymmetrical, and a labiaplasty can correct these imperfections and create an aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Revising the Labia Folds

There are two pairs of labia:

-the larger, outer labia (labia majora), and
-the smaller, inner labia (labia minora)

It is the smaller labia minora that can be reduced with a labiaplasty, with an excision of the excess labia. Large and/or misshapen labia minora may cause a woman embarrassment or even physical discomfort in tight clothing or a swimsuit. Some women would simply prefer to have a smoother contour for the external genitalia, with labia that are smaller and more visually appealing.

A Desire for a Change

In some women, the labia have been a problem since childhood, whereas for other women the labia may have become a problem only after childbirth or with increased age or weight gain. Whatever the source of discomfort or desire for change, a woman can be assured of a confidential discussion of her concerns with a board-certified plastic surgeon who performs labiaplasties and other cosmetic surgeries.

Several Versions of Labiaplasty

There is more than one version of labiaplasty procedure, and a woman's unique anatomy will be a major determinant of the surgical procedure to be performed. The labiaplasty can be performed at an accredited surgical center or hospital, with general anesthesia; two hours is a typical surgery time, with a day spent in recovery under physician monitoring.

A patient with a sedentary, non-physical job may be able to return to work within about five days after the labiaplasty. Sexual relations may resume in about six weeks. However, it must be kept in mind that each patient's recovery will be unique.

Benefits and Risks

After a labiaplasty, the labia are smaller, less fleshy, and symmetrical. Many women and their partners have reported their satisfaction with the labiaplasty results.

The labia contouring may leave slight scarring that can become nearly undetectable. As with any surgery, a labiaplasty presents a slight risk of infection and post-surgery complications, but the procedure is a relatively minor, safe surgery.