Wedge Method Vs Trim Method for Labiaplasty?

I am 19 years old and have been dealing with the discomfort of having large labia since puberty. I am uncomfortable when I am exercising, and sometimes just sitting or walking around. I find it difficult to keep clean and am worried that it will pose a sexual problem in the near future when I get married and become intimate with my husband.

What are the pros and cons of having a labiaplasty using the "wedge method" vs "the trim method"? I am in the process of having consultations and was interested in hearing more pros and cons of the different methods. Also, I am a college student so I am in classes, should 6-7 days be enough recovery? I am looking into having this done over spring break. Thank you.

Doctor Answers 50

Labiaplasty: wedge versus trim

There is no absolute guide to what is the correct method.

Sometimes it comes down to the surgeon's comfort level and experience with one technique over the other.

The primary advantage to the wedge is that its proponents like the shorter scar located across the labia rather than along its edge. It is claimed that it leaves more of the natural edge intact.

In my practice, it is the edge that bothers many of my patients; they do not like the thick, dark, rough surface and desire to have it removed. Furthermore, the vast majority of my patients undergo a combined clitoral hood reduction.

With the "trim method" (I call it the leading edge resection), this creates once incision that is continuous. If this is performed with the wedge resection, it will require use of a separate incision and therefore defeats the purpose of less scarring.

Wedge resections, in my opinion are best for prominence of the central 1/3 of the labia minora which will be resected with this. Lastly, I feel that occasionally the wedge resection results in tension at the edge of the repair.

In my hands, it really comes down to your anatomy.

In summary:

WEDGE TRIM Positive Negative Positive Negative Transverse scar Only mid labia treated Entire labia treated Linear scar Central 1/3 2 incisions clit hood 1 incision clit hood Extends deeper portion Less vascular portion Edge may see tension


Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Wedge vs. trim for labioplasty

You've done your homework!  I usually do a "hockey stick" wedge excision that allows me to remove a lot of the excess bulk but preserve the edge of the labia which is usually more pigmented and wrinkled than the center part of the labia.  With a trim procedure, the natural edge is removed.  Some ladies really want a smooth and less pigmented edge that a trim procedure leaves, but most of my patients want it to look as natural as possible. 

It's sooooo important to remember that normal genitalia is really variable and the goal of this surgery is to rid you of the excess length and bulk of the labia, and not to do a "custom designer" job.

Most ladies are very pleased with their result regardless of the particular method used. 

Lisa Lynn Sowder, M.D.

Lisa L. Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

Labiaplasty technique

Thank you for your question. In general, there are techniques to performing this surgery, and you've correctly identified them both. The trim method involves taking away excess labial skin in a longitudinal fashion along the length of the labia. This obviously takes less time for the surgeon to perform and is technically an easier method. It also, unfortunately, takes away the natural edge of the labia, forcing the surgeon to place a scar where previously there was an anatomical landmark, namely the edge. The wedge method is a longer, more difficult operation. It does, however, preserve the natural border of the labia, and more closely mimics that natural state of "normal" or aesthetically pleasing labia. In the hands of an experienced Board-certified plastic surgeon, the wedge method is the way to go. Good luck and fare well. 

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Labiaplasty techniques - wedge vs. trimming the edge

As you can see from the answers here, some surgeons prefer each technique, and it is certainly true that either technique can produce a good result and a satisfied patient.  However, there are some important differences, and you are wise to look into the options.

I certainly agree that a surgeon's experience with each procedure is important.  The "trimming" procedure is technically simpler, and less likely to cause complications and problems during surgery, as long as we stay away from the clitoris, which is anatomically at the front of the labia where they come together.  However, trimming alone will not reduce the fullness in the clitoral hood, so if that is important to you, be sure that the surgeon plans to address it.

I do not agree that the wedge procedure only improves the central portion of the labia.  By taking out a wedge, the tissue in front is pulled backward and the tissue in back is pulled forward, and that does reduce the excess tissue in those areas as well.

Also, with the  wedge procedure, we can extend the outer limb of the wedge toward the front, on either side of the clitoral head, and get some good tightening of the excess tissue over the clitoris without making an incision directly over the clitoris (which might endanger that very delicate anatomy)

Because the wedge tightens the entire length of the labia, it can improve the area around the clitoris as well.  With the trim method, the surgeon has to stay about 1 cm from the clitoris, which means that you may be left with a boxy "tab" adjacent to the clitoris where the labia could not be treated.

With the inner limb of the wedge (that goes toward the opening of the vagina), the surgeon should be certain to stay away from the opening of the urethra (where your urine comes out).  I often put a catheter into the urethra at the beginning of surgery to make it easier to keep track of the urethra and ensure that the opening is not damaged during the surgery.  The catheter is removed at the end of the procedure.

I have not seen significant healing problems with either technique (and I have done both, although currently I mostly do the wedge resection).  As with any surgery, minor problems might require a revision.

I would agree that, for very long and large labia, trimming might allow us to remove more tissue, but in my experience, a very significant amount of reduction can be done with the wedge procedure.

So, I would compare the techniques like this:

WEDGE:

  • Does not disrupt or remove the delicate free margin of the labia minora
  • Tightens the entire length of the labia minora, including the portion next to the clitoris
  • Can be carried forward on either side of the clitoris, tightening the clitoral hood
  • More complex procedure, requiring more skill, to reduce the chance of too much tightening of the opening of the vagina or injury to the urethral opening.

TRIM:

  • DOES remove the delicate free margin of the labia minora, which might be an advantage for a patient who does not like that pigmented tissue and wants it removed
  • Removes tissue along the entire length of the labia minora, except for the area immediately next to the clitoris, which may produce an extra "tab" of tissue there
  • Does not improve or tighten the clitoral hood.  If this is important, the trim can be combined with another procedure to reduce the clitoral hood, with an incision that may or may not be directly over the clitoris
  • May be more effective for very long and enlarged labia
  • Simpler and less technically demanding procedure

The only absolute rule I would suggest is that you NOT try to talk a surgeon into doing a procedure with which he or she is not completely comfortable.

However, the good news is that labiaplasty is a great procedure for improving both the appearance and discomfort from enlarged labia.

James Nachbar, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Wedge Versus Trim Labiaplasty

Whenever possible, I use the Wedge Method Labiaplasty. This preserves the normal contour of the labia, and the normal coloration. Most importantly, it is the least disruptive of nerve endings in this sensitive area. The wedge labiaplasty also has the least amount of scarring present and the quickest healing time. Sometimes a minor reduction of the clitoral hood is required if hooding is present and there is redundant tissue. The trim method removes much more labial tissue. I recommend this technique only when there is considerable excess of the labia minora, and there is concern over the coloration of the labia minora.
1 week is plenty of time for recovery. I would recommend waiting to exercise for about 3-4 weeks and resuming intercourse sometime around 4-6 weeks. 

Wedge Excision Labial Reduction Surgery Vs. Trim Method

I prefer the wedge excision method as describe by Dr Gary Alter as it puts the incision and scar line down the sides of the labia minora, not the entire length. This leads to less pain, almost no visible scar, and a more natural shape and look to the inner lips.

Jennifer L. Walden, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Labiaplasty Techniques

Thank you for your question. There are two predominant techniques for reduction of the labia minora, a longitudinal trim or a "V-wedge" removal of extra tissue.  I am in favor of the wedge excision as this yields a better shape, and leads to a shorter overall incision with less suture irritation. Most people can return to work within a few days of surgery, and total recovery takes 4 weeks, on average.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Method of labiaplasty

Thank you for your question.  Most surgeons perform the "V-wedge" excision for labiaplasty of the labia minora.  This gives a better shape, has less issues with suture line irritation and overall has a smaller incision.  Totally recovery is 3-4 weeks but most patients are able to be up and about within a few days, just make sure to ice for the first 2-3 days. 

Brian C. Reuben, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Labiaplasty Techniques

This is a great question, and one that I hear quite frequently. The trim method uses a “direct excision” technique which forms a linear scar that can become too tight and uncomfortable post-surgery. In my practice, I perform the wedge method which results in quicker recovery, a more natural looking scar and prevents any uncomfortable tightening.

Brian Coan, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Wedge vs Trim vs Linear vs Other Labiaplasty, How to Decide, Which is Better

The quality of a labiaplasty repair ultimately rests upon an artful contouring of shape to your desired specifications done in a way that creates no tension on the stitching. Since labia minora come in all shapes and sizes, a one-size-fits all approach will never succeed for all labia. A good solution is one that is tailored and adjusted to your body. Common sense.

Nonetheless, each general category of labiaplasty technique has its characteristic look, risks and benefits. You will get your best result from an experienced surgeon who takes the time to examine you, listens to your specific concerns and shows you exactly how the specifics of your anatomy will be addressed.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.