Hate the way my skin on my labia hangs and is dark, only on one side. What could I do? Is this normal and common? (Photo)

Would rather it be way smaller if that's possible? If surgery is the option then would you be in pain for sex after? Or doesn't it heal back to normal? Biggest flaw:/

Doctor Answers 13

One labium larger and darker

I reviewed your photo. Your right labium is enlarged and dark compared to your left.  One of the two most common techniques is the central wedge technique, which I invented in 1995 and published in the plastic surgery textbooks. It is also known as the "V" or wedge technique. Gynecologists and most plastic surgeons perform a labioplasty very differently. They essentially trim the labia minora (inner vaginal lips) and leave a long suture line instead of the normal labial edge. Their technique is the same whether a scalpel or a laser is used. In contrast, the central wedge removes triangles of tissue and bring the normal edges together. Thus, the normal labial edges, normal color, and normal anatomy are preserved, but the darkest labial tissue is usually removed. In your case, the right labium can be reduced to match your left labium very closely with a wedge technique if done by a very experienced surgeon in this procedure. 


Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Labiaplasty for uneven labia minora and answers to post op questions

The photograph you provided is quite typical and your concerns about the appearance are common.  It is not unusual to have asymmetry of the labia minora (as a matter of fact it is normal). The left side is indeed a little redundant and a unilateral labioplasty would make them more even.  This is a relatively minor case and should heal quickly.  I see my labioplasty patients at one week and two weeks post-op and they are usually well healed at two weeks but rarely ready for sexual intercourse.  Some women are ready as soon as three weeks and others do not feel comfortable having intercouse for 4-6 weeks. You should be able to return to full sexual activity once healed.

Mary Gingrass, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Labiaplasty

If it is just one side, then a labiaplasty may be a reasonable procedure to perform to better balance the labia. Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Labia hangs and is dark - indications for labiaplasty

Your story and concerns are in good company with almost ever other patient that undergoes labiaplasty and/or clitoral hood reduction (aka hoodectomy). Based upon your photos, your anatomy is very typical of someone who seriously considers having these procedures and experiences a major boost in (sexual) self-confidence thereafter.
Labiaplasty, which most commonly involves surgical reduction of the labia minora (inner/thinner lips), has become a relatively common procedure over the last ten and even more so last five years. Most commonly it is done under light sedation (aka twighlight sleep) with local anesthesia, in which case the patient should feel no pain during the operation. Whether the surgery is done using a laser, scalpel, or scissors does not really matter but what does matter is "symmetry". Symmetry is the most important aspect to the final aesthetic result. Most women, just like yourself, prefer to have as much of the darker pigmented edges removed as possible. Also, it's not how much tissue is removed but how much is left remaining because a certain amount is necessary to maintain proper form and function - typically ~10 mm or so. To achieve these three most important elements, I have found that the "Trim Method" satisfies best. It is extremely important to consult with a board certified plastic surgeon that specializes in this operation (does at least 1 - 2 per week). It may cost you a bit more but it is this type of result you will want to live with for the rest of your life. Typical (all inclusive) fee at my office/surgery center is $4500.

Although there is no guarantee, women frequently do seek clitoral hood reduction (Hoodectomy) to improve exposure of the clitoris and hence better stimulation during sexual activity. By removing some of the excess &/or redundant skin concealing the clitoris, it becomes more readily exposed to sexual stimulation and hence a heightened sexual experience/orgasm is possible. Sometimes I recommend adding hoodectomy to labiaplasty to better harmonize the aesthetic outcome. Again, the key is seek consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon or gynecologist who performs this procedure regularly (>2-3 x/month) so that just the right amount of tissue is removed and just the right amount remains such that the clitoris is not constantly exposed and rubbing on clothing, etc... Typical fee for a hoodectomy is ~$3000 but reduced to about half that price if done along with a labiaplasty.

Now for recovery, because the labia tissue is so robust with blood supply it has an amazing ability to heal relatively quickly. Most patients are sore for 4-5 days before things start to get a lot better from there. Some patients can resume work before this time depending upon their occupation. No exercise for two weeks, no baths/jacuzzi or swimming for 3 weeks, and no sexual activity for typically 4 weeks. My patients are given an oral pain medication such as Vicodin or Percocet but icing the area for the first 48 hours and applying some custom made take-home topical local anesthetic cream seems to work the best. Glad to help.

Ryan Stanton, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 103 reviews

Labia hanging and dark, on one side. Options?

Thank you for the photo.  Everyone is asymmetrical. One eye is higher than the other. One nostril is higher than the other. One nipple is higher than the other. Symmetry is often the goal, but seldom perfectly reached. Patients are not made of wood or clay. There are multiple factors at play. This is especially true with this area of the body.  It looks like you would benefit from a labiaplasty.  Please see an experienced, board certified surgeon.  Together, you should come up with an appropriate plan.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Hanging Labia

Consider a wedge labiaplasty to eliminate the haning of the labia minora below the outer larger lips.  Go to a surgeon with experience!

Labiaplasty

Thank you for your question. Labiaplasty will help reduce the size of the labia to match the other side. The posterior wedge technique would reduce the size and in 4 to 6 weeks you will be completely healed. Sex will be pain free after healing. Good luck.

Hate the way my skin on my labia hangs and is dark, only on one side. What could I do? Is this normal and common?

It appears that you have some excess tissue on one of your labia minora. It can be corrected with a standard labiaplasty. Get a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon near you to discuss your concerns. Best of luck! 

Mathew A. Plant, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Can Labiaplasty Help Labia Mismatch?

Yes, your longer side can be made smaller with a labiaplasty. (No nonsurgical procedure would be able to accomplish that.)

Recovery typically entails 4 to 6 weeks of not having sex after the procedure. This is a general guideline, and your surgeon can be more specific.

To minimize your chances of a complication or a result you're not happy with, choose a board-certified plastic surgeon or gynecologist who does labiaplasty surgery and has good before-and-after photos.

If you're interested in reading about the a labiaplasty patient's experience, click on the link below. 

All the best.

Heather J. Furnas, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Aesthetic Options for Asymmetric Labia Minora

Using the smaller side as a model, it is possible to perform a one-sided labia minora reduction labiaplasty to achieve a balanced and symmetrical appearance. After the usual recovery of 6 weeks, sex can be resumed without discomfort.

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.