Labiaplasty 101

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Labiaplasty is fast becoming a popular procedure. You may have heard this referred to as “vaginal rejuvenation”, but we’re sticklers for proper terminology, so when talking about the labia, we’ll say “labia”, rather than “vagina.” With a recent increase in hair removal and current popularity of snug fitting yoga pants and “athleisure” clothing, more women are seeking a solution for the discomfort they’re experiencing due to labia that are too long or too prominent. Are you uncomfortable in any of these situations?

  • Labia pulling or chafing on a bike seat
  • Discomfort in certain tiny underwear
  • Bulkiness in yoga pants
  • Tugging, pulling or needing to rearrange labia for intercourse
  • Tucking labia in to avoid chafing
  • Feeling self-conscious about appearance
  • Wanting inner labia to be tucked inside outer labia

If this sounds like you, read on to learn more about a simple procedure that may help you feel more comfortable.

What is labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of the labia minora, or ‘inner lips.” In most cases, the goal is to get the labia minora “tucked in” inside the labia majora, so that chafing, pulling, and discomfort are minimized and the appearance is tidy and neat. Why do we need labia anyway? They’re there to protect the vaginal opening and there are many variations of normal. Some have labia that have always been longer, while others experience some stretching of their tissues with childbirth. Most women we see have variations of normal anatomy, but if your labia are making you uncomfortable, it’s perfectly fine to consider labiaplasty.

There are several popular methods for labiaplasty, and the technique is always tailored to the needs and goals of each woman. Most commonly, we prefer a variation of the extended wedge labiaplasty popularized by American surgeon Gary Alter, MD. This technique allows us to remove the excess tissue, while still preserving the normal edge of the labia and leads to a very natural-appearing final result. The majority of our labiaplasty patients heal so well that the incisions become barely visible over time.

Procedure Details

Labiaplasty is done in the comfort and privacy of our office surgical suite. Our all-female staff will make sure that you’re comfortable and well-prepared for surgery. First, we’ll apply a topical numbing cream that will numb the surface of your skin. We’ll get you positioned comfortably in the OR, and make sure that you’re relaxed and ready for your procedure. Most women don’t require an IV or sedation, but it’s available if needed. During the procedure, we can play music or chat with you to pass the time. The procedure finishes with dissolving stitches and an ice pack. We’ll go over instructions and make sure you’re comfortable before releasing you to go home the same day.

You’ll have some soreness and swelling of course, but the recovery is very tolerable for most women. You’ll need to avoid tampons and intercourse for 4-6 weeks while you heal, but most women can get back to work after about a week.

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Banff Plastic Surgeon