What are the risks of clitoral hood reduction (including clitoral lift)?

I am travelling to the US for surgery. My travel insurance will not cover ANY medical issues directly or indirectly related to the surgery. I am obviously concerned and I wondered if you could tell me how risky this surgery is? What the likely/unlikely complications could be?

Doctor Answers 11

Clitoral hood reduction is a low risk procedure in experienced hands

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You can expect a little bit of swelling and itching at the beginning of the healing process, but not much else. Obviously, the risks are lower with an expert than with a non-expert. The non-expert might take too little or too much tissue creating a cosmetic issue. Infection, bleeding and scar separation are rare in expert hands, but none of these issues are life threatening nor do they require hospitalization.

Clitoral Hood Reduction: Complications

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Thank you for your question.  When traveling for surgery, your question is a very important one.  The complications associated with cosmetic surgical procedure depend on the type of procedure performed and the experience of the genital surgeon.  Clitoral hood reduction is a lower-risk procedure with typically minimal blood loss and lower risk of infection in experienced hands.We recommend to our patients from out of the country and out of town to take into account potential issues that may require some attention in order to reduce the chance of your question becoming reality.  We discuss this with our patients during the preoperative evaluation.  I wish you the best of luck with your procedure.       

Jeffrey S. Palmer, MD, FACS, FAAP (Cosmetic Urologist

What are the risks of clitoral hood reduction surgery?

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Dear Angel,

Thank you for your excellent question.  Without a picture or description of any issues you may have, I can only answer your question in general terms related to the 2 kinds of clitoral hoodoplasty there are (the lateral and the central hood reduction surgeries).

Most women wanting a hood reduction do so because of hygiene, access, sensation, and/or appearance concerns.  There can be folds of tissue on either one or both sides of the main hood, and/or there can be extra tissue in the middle causing a puffy look and covering up the clitoral glans reducing sensation and making access and cleaning difficult.  Sometimes the tissue can be asymmetric and/or pigmented like the labia minora edges.  There are also occasions where the clitoral glans itself has adhesions preventing it from being accessible to stimulation.

The risks of this type of surgery in a highly experienced surgeon's hands should be minimal.  The risks and complications include scarring, altered sensation (either decreased or increased), hypersensitivity, over-exposure, infection, bleeding, and unhappy with aesthetic results.

Be sure to research surgeons who are highly experienced in labiaplasty and clitoral hood reductions.  Be sure to see lots of before and after pictures and discuss how s/he addresses post-op complications, especially since you are coming from out of the country.  Please visit the link below to read more about clitoral hood reduction surgery.

I hope this information is helpful and enjoy your visit.


Troy Robbin Hailparn, MD, FACOG
Cosmetic Gynecology Center of San Antonio

What are the risks of clitoral hood reduction (including clitoral lift)?

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Thank you for your question.  With an experienced surgeon, a clitoral hood reduction is a very low risk operation.  Having said that, I have seen many patients that have had either too little or too much or the clitoral hood removed.  Other risks like bleeding and infection should be very low.  Just make sure you go to an experienced surgeon and the surgery should be pretty straight forward.

Risks of hoodectomy

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are rare but still real and the others have summarized them adequately.  Removing the perfect amount of tissue is really hard to do so its always best to be on the conservative side to avoid unfixable problems.  The procedure itself is not technically challenging and any experienced surgeon with good judgment and the knowledge of the methods will provide you a good outcome.  But your anatomy must be examined and the areas of concern pointed out by your before any real recommendations on what is needed can be made.  Whomever you choose to see should provide you with options from which you can choose and be able to do this in the office under local if you want.  The most common complications should easily be managed in the office under local.  And know what your surgeon's revision policy is, just in case you need it.

Risks of Clitoral Hood Reduction

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Dear Angel:

Thank you for the questions but most risks associated with surgery are a direct consequence and result of the experience and expertise of the surgeon. You really need to ask your surgeon his fund of knowledge of the risk of this procedure.

Of course the risks associated with any surgery apply here including but not limited to:
swelling , bruising, wound separation, infection, bleeding and scar .   Of special concerns ( as i have learned from patients who have come to my office who had clitoral hood reductions problems are the following possibilities:

- loss of nerve sensation
- loss of clitoral function and orgasm
- decreased efficiency in achieving orgasm
- removing too much clitoral hood and over exposure of the clitoris which can results in:

  • simply a cosmetic change and seeing more clitoral meatus
  • hypersensitivity
    • the clitoris is hypersensitive to light touch and anything touching it
-removing too much clitoral hood laterally and putting too much tension on the hood (from side to side) can flatten the hood making it too tight and then the patient doesn't have a mobile hood and the patient can't feel the stimulation

Though the above rarely occur in patients where they do occur it can be devastating.   The only way to avoid these complications is by choosing a surgeon who understands these complications and realize they exist in the first place. If your surgeon doesn't know they can exist how can he/she avoid these risks............they can't.

Please choose your surgeon wisely.  Choose a surgeon who understands gynecologic anatomy and specializes in cosmetic vaginal surgery, one who has experience, expertise and can offer excellent results.

Best of Luck

John R Miklos MD
Urogynecologists & Cosmetic Vaginal Surgeon
Atlanta ~ Beverly Hills ~ Dubai

What are the risks of clitoral hood surgery?

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Hello "Angel..."

Without a detailed photo it is difficult for me to be specific in my answer and apply it to you personally, so I will speak in general re: reduction of clitoral hood. Whether or not a "lift" is necessary, or a minor labiaplasty would pend in-detail photos or hands-on exam.

I have authored research studies on labiaplasty risks and outcomes (see website). In skilled hands, the risk of serious complication is rare ( 500 cases) and specialize specifically in genital plastic work. The risk and major complication profile for less experienced surgeons I would estimate to be ~ 5 times higher than in skilled hands. The majority of the surgeons answering you here are skilled & expereinced; your choice would depend on their price, location, and whether they were facile with differn]ent methods and treat you as an individual rather than a "case..."

Best wishes for a safe & secure trip & procedure,

Michael P Goodman MD
Davis, CA, USA


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The surgery you are discussing is not a standard item.  The exact technique and experience of your surgeon determine the risk/benefit profile. Discuss these in detail with your surgeon before any surgery you may have.

A clitornal hood reduction can be a low risk procedure depending yupon the techniue. 

Best Regards,

John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Clitoral hood reduction

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Thank you for your question. The clitoral hood reduction type procedure carries a low complication risk and relatively quick recovery. The procedure is typically done in an office typesetting under local anesthesia and the approximate time of the procedure is  under an hour. You will experience some mild swelling post procedure but you should be able to enjoy your vacation with us here in the United States even after this type of procedure

Best of luck :-)

Hood reduction risks-very low

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Hello. Clitoral hood reduction done by an expert and experienced surgeon is a very low risk procedure which takes 30 minutes. When performed in-office under local anesthesia the risks are even lower. Risks include the basic risks for any surgery: pain, bleeding and infection. In my experience, the risks for these are less than 1%. Additionally there is a risk of loss of sensation and or hypersensitivity of the clitoris. Again with experienced surgeons this risk is exceedingly low and in fact I have not had a single patient encounter this issue (mostly due to the technique used). 
I hope this is helpful and I wish you the best. 
~Dr Poucher

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.