Labiaplasty Risks

What are the labiaplasty risks and labiaplasty complications?

Doctor Answers 33

Labiaplasty Risks

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


Ridgewood Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Risks really relate to technique

Hello,

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.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Risks of labiaplasty

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.

ADDITIONAL SURGERY NECESSARY

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.

HEALTH INSURANCE

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.

FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES

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.

Three Major Risks

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

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 35 reviews

Labiaplasty Complications

Generally, labiaplasty is a low risk procedure that has a high rate of patient satisfaction. However, with any surgery there is always a risk of infection, bleeding or healing complications. Patients who smoke, take blood thinners or have immune disorders have an increased risk for complications. My advice is to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon that has experience performing labiaplastys.

Scott Chapin, MD, FACS
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Labiaplasty risks

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 144 reviews

Risks of labiaplasty

All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Minor complications that do not affect the outcome occur occasionally. Major complications are rare. These can include infection, bleeding, (hematoma) , separation of the incision, changes in sensation , pain, increased sensitivity, unsatisfactory cosmetic results

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 96 reviews

Risks of labiaplasty?

There are general risks with any procedure such as bleeding, pain, scars, infection. With labiaplasty the biggest concerns are aesthetic - usually under correction such that you wish more had been removed. Functional risks also exist and are the most concerning, such as chronic pain or pain with intercourse; most of these functional problems result from over-resection which is why under-correction is a more common concern. I hope this helps.

Risks with Labiaplasty

In general, the risks associated with a labiaplasty tend to be fairly low and the problems that happen are generally limited and fairly minor. With the technique that I use, which is a wedge resection technique, I have not seen many significant complications. The most common problems are small wound healing issues where the incision opens a little bit after surgery can be healed with dressing changes and time. Rarely a dehiscence or split in the incision will occur that causes a notch or an irregularity in the labia that needs to be corrected as a minor procedure at a later date. It is possible to have an infection, swelling and bruising or bleeding. However, these risks are very low. Sensation changes in a negative way would be extremely unlikely and for the most part people recover from the surgery without experiencing any notable complications.

Robert Cohen, MD
Santa Monica Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 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.