Labiaplasty Risks

What are the labiaplasty risks and labiaplasty complications?

Doctor Answers 40

Risks really relate to technique

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The most common and well-studied labiaplasty is the reduction of the Labia minora (the vaginal "lips"). This operation has several base methods and the results vary with those methods. The simple cut off the excess "trim" is associated with far more pain and downtime than the wedge methods. My practice of labiaplasty has gravitated toward a modified wedge as this has provided the reductions with greatly decreased pain.

The "trims" tend to experience more hypersensitivity at the cut edge. The "wedges" don't. The "trims" lose more sensation and the "wedges" really don't. I can think of few patients upon whom at this time in my practice I would offer a "trim." Infection is a risk. It is better to do the surgery when you are off your period if you can although this is only a theoretical risk.

Orange Plastic Surgeon

Labiaplasty Risks

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Labiaplasty is an extremely safe and effective procedure when performed properly with experience and care.  Healing in this region is very favorable due to its vascularity and scars are very well hidden.   

Any surgery poses a small risk of infection, bleeding and wound healing issues. Patients who smoke, have immune suppressive disorders, and who consume blood thinners are generally more at risk for these problems. 

Overall risks for labiaplasty are very low when performed meticulously by an experienced surgeon and there continues to be a very high patient satisfaction with the procedure.


Dr. Pedy Ganchi

Pedy Ganchi, MD
Ridgewood Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Risks of labiaplasty

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INTRODUCTION The operation of labiaplasty (labia minora reduction) is a surgical procedure to remove excess tissue from the labia minora or smaller lips. Very occasionally women seek an opinion regarding surgery of the outer lips. Very occasionally labiaplasty can be requested for enlargement (typically with lipoinjection or grafting) of small or uneven labia. Rarely labiaplasty can also involve release of tethered scars with rearrangement of local tissues. The surgery is elective in nature and therefore one has to carefully consider the surgery and balance it against the risks. Labiaplasty is not necessarily a surgical treatment for pain. Patients who have pain in scars after delivery may gain some relieve when the scars are released. However in patients who have deep neuromas, or scar tissue around nerve endings, the pain may persist after surgery. Individuals who intend to have this procedure should have a thorough gynecological exam and otherwise be in good health without any other uro-gynecologic or gastrointestinal conditions. There are a variety of different techniques used by plastic surgeons for labiaplasty. Labiaplasty can be combined with other forms of body-contouring surgery, including suction-assisted lipectomy, or performed at the same time with other elective surgeries. ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS Alternative forms of management consist of not treating the areas of loose tissue. If persistent yeast infections are a problem, these can be treated with a combination of medications and topical agents as well as improved hygiene. Extreme discomfort caused by tight clothing may be relieved by wearing loose clothing or avoiding undergarments. Risks and potential complications are associated with alternative forms of treatment that involve surgery. RISKS of LABIAPLASTY SURGERY Every surgical procedure involves a certain amount of risk and it is important that you understand the risks involved with labiaplasty. An individuals choice to undergo a surgical procedure is based on the comparison of the risk to potential benefit. Although the majority of patients do not experience the following complications, you should discuss each of them with your surgeon to make sure you understand all possible consequences of labiaplasty. Bleeding- It is possible, though unusual; it may require emergency treatment. Do not take any aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications; this may increase the risk of bleeding.

Infection - Infection is unusual after this type of surgery. Antibiotics or additional surgery may be necessary.

Change in skin sensation- Diminished (or loss of) skin sensation in the labia may not totally resolve after labiaplasty.

Skin contour irregularities- This may cause alteration in the appearance of the edge of the labia. Visible and palpable wrinkling of skin can occur.

Pigment irregularities- Visible discoloration of the leading edge of the labia majora/minora can occur.

Scarring - Scars may be unattractive and of different color than surrounding skin. Additional treatments including surgery may be necessary to treat abnormal scarring.

Surgical anesthesia- . There is the possibility of complications, injury, and even death from all forms of surgical anesthesia or sedation.

Asymmetry- Labia are normally uneven. Symmetry may not result from labiaplasty. Many other anatomical features may contribute to normal asymmetry in body features.

Delayed healing- Wound disruption or delayed wound healing is possible. This may require frequent dressing changes or further surgery to remove the non-healed tissue.

Smokers have a greater risk of skin loss and wound healing complications.

Allergic reactions- Allergic reactions may require additional treatment.

Swelling- Malposition, scarring, unacceptable appearance or loss of the labia may occur..

Long term effects- Subsequent alterations in body contour may occur as the result of aging, weight loss or gain, pregnancy, or other circumstances not related to labiaplasty.

Pain- Chronic pain may occur very infrequently from nerves becoming trapped in scar tissue after labiaplasty. Pain due to other associated conditions may not be relieved by labiaplasty.

Other- You may be disappointed with the results of surgery. Infrequently, it is necessary to perform additional surgery to improve your results.


Should complications occur, additional surgery or other treatments may be necessary. Even though risks and complications occur infrequently, the risks cited are particularly associated with labiaplasty. Other complications and risks can occur but are even more uncommon. The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee or warranty expressed or implied, on the results that may be obtained.


Most health insurance companies exclude coverage for cosmetic surgical operations such as labiaplasty or any complications that might occur from surgery. Please carefully review your health insurance subscriber-information pamphlet.


Additional costs may occur should complications develop from the surgery. Secondary surgery or hospital day-surgery charges involved with revisionary surgery would also be your responsibility.

These risks should not be considered all inclusive in defining other methods of care and risks encountered. Your surgeon may provide you with additional or different information which is based on all the facts in your particular case and the state of medical knowledge.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Labiaplasty risks

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Labiaplasty is a commonly performed procedure in our office fully accredited surgery center. As a matter of fact, many of my patients prefer undergoing the procedure under local anesthesia. We provide numbing before anything happens so that you can't feel any discomfort. Some prefer some sort of oral sedation. Occasionally, my patients request IV sedation or general anesthesia. It is a very safe procedure with minimal risk and low downtime. The most common risk are bleeding, swelling and minor wound issue. Most of patients maintain excellent sensation and intimate relations. Our technique hides the scar as the scar is not visible. I use dissolving sutures and this makes it a wonderful experience for my patients. Its a great experience for my patients.

Stanley Okoro, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 168 reviews

Three Major Risks

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Bleeding requiring surgery. 

Separation of the closure requiring surgery. 

Nerve injury. 

These are all avoided almost completely with the right technique. See above and you will get it. 

Labiaplasty is safe

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Because the practice of medicine, cosmetic or otherwise, is based on clinical evidence, the lack of data from prospective, randomized, controlled trials is a serious mark against labiaplasty in the eyes of many doctors. However, from my clinical experience and own (as of yet unpublished) outcome study, the results of the procedure outweigh the potential risks. In my study, conducted from 2006 to 2007, I surveyed 77 patients about their labiaplasty experience and found that about 95% of them were overwhelmingly satisfied with the results.

My results compliment many other published outcome studies. One of these studies was conducted in a Chilean clinic and surveyed 55 labiaplasty patients. Two months following surgery, 91% of the patients said they were “very satisfied” with the results and none said they were dissatisfied.4 Another study of 163 patients in France found that 89% were satisfied with the aesthetic results of the procedure and 93% were happy with the functional outcomes.

Although more studies of this sort need to be completed, I am convinced that excellent outcomes are possible with labiaplasty when you have an experienced plastic surgeon using good surgical techniques in a safe manner.

Usha Rajagopal, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Labiaplasty Risks

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Like any surgery, labiaplasty does have some risks.  Fortunately, risks are relatively rare.  Risks include would breakdown, infection, and potentially scaring.  This could ultimately be a source for continued pain.  Although not a risk, the final cosmetic appearance may not be what you had in mind.  It is very important that you voice your desired outcome with your surgeon.  And again, these risks are relatively rare with labiaplasty.  


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Complications include but are not limited to wound healing problems, infection, asymmetry and unsatisfactory cosmesis, scar formation, and pain at the surgical site.

John L. Burns Jr., MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

Risks and benefits of labiaplasty

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Thank you for posting your question.  No matter how small a procedure is, there are always risks associated with surgery.  Almost every surgical procedure has a risk for bleeding, infections, and/or wound healing.  Fortunately, all of these are extremely rare with a labiaplasty when performed by an experienced surgeon. 

In my experience, chances of a large hematoma requiring returning to the operating room are less than 1%.  The second most common complication is wound separation which is more likely to be seen with the wedge technique and it also occurs very sporadically.  For the most part, if this happens, the separation goes on to healing without any major visible scars.  Some patients may need a small revision under local anesthesia at approximately 3-6 months postop.

Labiaplasty if the fastest growing procedure in plastic surgery.  When performed in the appropriate candidate the benefits outweigh significantly the minor associated risks of the surgery.

Hope this answer was helpful.  Good luck!

Risks with Labiaplasty

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There are minimal risks associated with labiaplasty.  The risks include the following:

Improper wound healing with wound edges not perfectly aligned

Wound breakdown may occur

Scarring from reaction to sutures, infections, keloids may occur and all scars may not be hidden from view or may actually be more prominent depending on the healing process

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

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.