Labiaplasty Vs Vaginoplasty ~ How Are They Different?

How is a labiaplasty different from a vaginoplasty? How does one know which procedure they need?

Doctor Answers 26

What is a labiaplasty and what is a vaginoplasty

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It is difficult to explain without having a clear understanding of the external female anatomy (vulva).

However I will try to give you an oversimplified analogy which may help you to understand.

Picture a doorway (introitus) flanked on either side by a set of window-like shutters (labia) opening into a corridor (vagina).

    • The labiaplasty alters the size and shape of the labia (shutters) and is typically performed to decrease the size of the labia minora
    • A perineoplasty alters the opening of the vaginal introitus (doorway threshold) and is commonly performed after pregnancy to revise an episiotomy scar
    • A vaginoplasty alters the size and shape of the vagina (corridor) with the general intention of making it smaller/tighter

The procedure you choose is dependent upon your anatomy, medical and gynecological history, as well as your goals and desires.

You should consult with a physician who is capable of performing these procedures and discuss the risks, alternatives, and benefits.

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Labiaplasty changes the outside while vaginoplasty usually tightens the inside

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Labiaplasty is a general word that refers to any procedure that alters the shape of the inner or outer labia (labia majora and/or labia minora).  Most women who have labiaplasty are looking to reduce the size of the inner labia (labia minora) relative to the outer labia (labia majora).  However, some chose to enlarge the outer labia, usually with fat injection while others want to reduce the outer labia.  Sometimes, a combination of the above is performed.

Vaginoplasty usually refers to tightening of the vagina.

Dr. Parham Ganchi - NJ Plastic Surgeon

Parham Ganchi, PhD, MD
Wayne Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 172 reviews

Be sure to get the details

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I agree with Dr. Di Saia and would like to add that a careful discussion with your treating surgeon is critical.

Your surgeon should describe exactly what the surgical plan is and what the potential complications are. Vaginoplasties typically can have more severe complications than labiaplasties (stricutres, wound dehiscence).

Always find a board certified plastic surgeon.

I hope this helps.

Labiaplasty is outside work and the vaginoplasty is inside work

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The more common procedures Labiaplasty. I have treated girls as young as 14 who were cheerleaders and have both cosmetic and functional problems with the elongated labia. In older women, especially those who have had children, they may also have problems with the vaginal opening having enlarged due to problems associated with deliveries including tearing of the posterior vagina. I recently treated a woman who delivered before the doctor could perform  an episiotomy, and she had a severe tear requiring the repair of muscle layers as well as removing excess vaginal mucosa(lining)

Joseph M. Perlman, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Labiaplasty is the answer for many women!

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Labiaplasty is surgery of the tissue around the opening of the vagina.  There are external labia (labia majora) which have skin and hair and internal labia (labia minora) which are mucous membranes that are hairless and outside of the vagina.  Most women have enlargement of the of the internal labia minora resulting in discomfort in every day activity, or intercourse.  The labia can get caught in the clothing, fall out of the underpants or bathing suit or block the vaginal canal. 


The surgery is done to reduce the excess labia and recreate normal appearing labia that do not extend beyond the outer labia or block the vagina.  Having the surgery done by a Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon is highly advisable because this is a very artistic and detailed surgery that must be done well in order to prevent problems from removal of excessive tissue. Vaginoplasty is done to recontour the vaginal opening.  This may be done by Obstetritians.   Men also present for a similar procedure of removal of excess skin of the penis following poorly done circumcision, where they experience similar problems with skin catching, becoming irritated and disruptive to successful intercourse. 

Kimberley Lloyd O'Sullivan, MD
Providence Plastic Surgeon

Labiaplasty vs vaginoplasty

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Labiaplasty addresses issues and rejuvenates the external genitalia, versus vaginoplasties addresses the vaginal vault/ canal. 

Vaginoplasty vs. Labioplasty

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Vaginoplasty surgery tightens the vagina by tightening the muscles and tissues and removing excess lining. Most vaginoplasty is day surgery and can be performed in-office or in a hospital setting. Some patients may need to stay in the hospital overnight. Expect a few days of discomfort, allow two to five days before returning to work, and you will need to wait six weeks before resuming sexual activity.

Labioplasty surgery reduces and reshapes the vaginal lips for greater comfort and an improved look. Labiaplasty is typically day surgery and can be performed in-office or in a hospital setting. Expect a few days of discomfort, allow two to four days before returning to work, and you will need to wait six to eight weeks before resuming sexual activity.

Labiaplasty and vaginoplasty can be performed in a combined surgery often referred to as vaginal rejuvenation. Recovery from a full vaginal rejuvenation procedure is comparable to recovery from either individual procedure.


Kris M. Reddy, MD, FACS
West Palm Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

The difference between a labiaplasty and a vaginoplasty

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Labiaplasty is a surgical technique to reduce the amount of skin tissue in the labia of a female patient. This is commonly performed for asymmetry or when patients feel that they have excess tissue in this area. Some patients complain of discomfort due to the extra skin during sexual intercourse. Other patients state that some of this excess tissue may protrude from their underwear. A vaginoplasty is a technique to rejuvenate the inside of the vagina. This is performed by gynecologists. It is important to note that the American College of gynecologists has not approved for vaginoplasty procedures as it is uncertain what the long-term effects of a vaginoplasty may be.

Differences between Labiaplasty and Vaginoplasty

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Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that alters the appearance of the labia.  Generally it is a reduction in the external tissue of the vaginal area, more specifically the labia minor and/or the labia majora.

David L. Robbins, MD, FACS
West Des Moines Plastic Surgeon


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Vaginoplasty is sometimes used to describe both inside and outside surgery... So your confusion is totally understandable. I like to use the terms vaginal tightening to describe tightening of the vagina on the inside. For aesthetic and functional improvement of the labia majors, labia minors, and clitoral hood (all the skin on the outside of the vagina) I use the term labiaplasty.

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

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.