Labiaplasty, or labia reduction, is a term that encompasses a number of procedures targeted at the labia minora and majora, also known as the inner and outer “lips” that surround the clitoris and vaginal opening. Labiaplasty aims to correct a number of conditions, including enlarged, asymmetric, abnormally shaped or discoloured labia. Surgical and non-surgical options are available. Most procedures take up to an hour and a half and are performed on an outpatient basis.
While labiaplasty is a primarily cosmetic procedure, many women who undergo labia reduction procedures have more than just aesthetic concerns. Enlarged labia can cause pain, irritation, and discomfort during exercise or sexual intercourse, and can prevent some women from feeling comfortable wearing tight clothing due to increased friction. In some cases, enlarged labia can even lead to chronic infections.
Who is a Good Candidate for a Labiaplasty?
Many women undergo labiaplasties for aesthetic reasons; they are unhappy with or embarrassed by their enlarged or misshapen labia. Labia hypertrophy, or enlarged labia, is a condition that can occur naturally with age, childbirth, injury, hormonal changes, or chronic irritation, and can be mild or severe. Some women are genetically predisposed to having larger labia. A woman’s labia minora may become asymmetrical, enlarged, misshapen, or elongated, and may protrude past the labia majora, leading to a “saggy” appearance. Many women are self-conscious about their enlarged labia in intimate situations, which can lead to sexual dissatisfaction. For women with severe labia hypertrophy, the labia can appear as a “bulge” when they wear swimwear or other tight clothing.
A 2008 study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported that 32 percent of women who underwent labia reduction procedures did so to correct a functional impairment, 31 percent both to correct a functional impairment and for aesthetic reasons, and 37 percent for aesthetic reasons alone. A 2011 review in the same journal reported overall patient satisfaction ratings in the range of 90-95
Non-Surgical Laser Vaginal Tightening is Quick & Effective
Non-surgical laser vaginal tightening is taking no more than 30 minutes, and requiring no pre- or post-operative care or recovery time. Normal activities can be resumed immediately after the treatment. Like traditional vaginoplasty, non-surgical vaginal tightening is designed to tighten the vaginal walls, but does not make use of incisions or sutures, virtually eliminating associated risks. Most patients report almost no discomfort, other than a warming sensation, and there is usually no need for even local anaesthesia.
Procedures that Target the Labia Structure
There is no single “labiaplasty” procedure, but rather various types of procedures that target the labia structures. The techniques used depend on the desired final result. Some labiaplasty procedures include:
The “Barbie” or “Smooth” Labiaplasty
Like the doll that coined the name, this type of labiaplasty was popularized by women requesting a “smooth” look. This is the most dramatic type of labiaplasty, in that the labia are mostly or completely excised. It creates a refined, petite, minimalist look that should completely eliminate the uncomfortable feelings of pulling or rubbing to which enlarged labia are prone. Once the labia minora are removed, the labia majora can close more tightly, giving the appearance of a “single line” opening. In cases where the labia majora appear enlarged or saggy, they can be shaved down to enhance the streamlined appearance. Patients are reminded that because this is a more comprehensive type of labiaplasty, reversals are not easily performed.
The “Rim” or “Peek-A-Boo” Labiaplasty
Unlike the Barbie, the Rim labiaplasty takes a more conservative approach, and is the most common type of labiaplasty. During this procedures, both the labia majora and minora are reduced, but a small part of the labia minora is left to protrude, or “peek” slightly outside the labia majora, of which a part is also left intact, to create a natural looking rim. This procedure aims at restoring symmetry to the labia by removing excess skin folds, as well as skin, which may have become darker and more irregular around the edges.
The Hybrid Labiaplasty
As the name suggests, the Hybrid labiaplasty combines the best of both worlds, falling somewhere between the conservative Rim and the dramatic Barbie. In this procedure, the labia minora are reduced in size such that the labia majora overlaps them, but with about one centimetre of the labia minora left intact, creating a “clamshell” look.
This labiaplasty procedure is targeted specifically at the labia majora, or outer vaginal “lips,” removing any excess skin and wrinkles in order to create a smooth look. This procedure is particularly requested by women whose labia majora have lost firmness with age or after childbirth, leading to a “saggy” appearance that can make the entire vaginal area appear open or loose. In instances where sagging is less pronounced, fat transfer or dermal fillers may be sufficient to correct this condition, and may be done with or instead of surgical skin removal. This non-surgical procedure is known as labia puffing. Puffing the labia stretches the skin and creates a tighter appearance.
Laser Labia Tightening
For women who are hesitant about pursuing surgical options, advances in laser technology have heralded a revolutionary non-surgical labia reduction treatment, which is non-invasive, effective, safe, pain-free and highly precise. This new labia tightening procedure, which targets mainly the labia majora, uses state-of-the-art lasers which emit micro-pulses of light that do not break the skin and do not require anaesthesia, eliminating many of the risks of traditional surgical procedures. The light pulses generate minimal heat, producing only a warming sensation during treatment, and are able to target multiple layers of skin, tightening subdermal collagen, as well as remodelling and stimulating the production of new collagen bundles. The result is an increased firmness of the labia majora without the risk or recovery time of surgery. This procedure can similarly be applied to the prepuce, the skin surrounding the clitoris, in order to increase clitoral sensitivity during sexual intercourse.
Some patients come to the clinic requesting revisions to surgeries performed elsewhere with which they were unsatisfied. Often these “botched” procedures were performed by inexperienced and under-qualified physicians. We are happy to report that in a majority of cases these situations can be corrected to the patient’s satisfaction by one of our qualified specialist surgeons.
Labiaplasties & Vaginal Tightening
Labiaplasties are often performed simultaneously with vaginal tightening procedures, as well as a number of other procedures that target the genital area. Combining procedures is advisable as, while it may lengthen recovery time, it puts much less stress on the body than two separate surgeries, and reduces costs associated with anaesthesia and the use of surgical facilities. Price adjustments are usually available for patients undertaking multiple procedures.
Labiaplasties & Hoodectomy
Labiaplasties are also sometimes performed with a hoodectomy, or clitoral hood reduction, which trims excess skin around the clitoris (known as the prepuce or clitoral “hood”) in order to expose the clitoris and increase sexual sensitivity. Some women choose to also undergo a hymenoplasty (which restores the hymen), mons pubis reduction (liposuction, trimming, and lifting of the area between the belly and vagina), or G-spot amplification (injection of a filler in order to increase the size of the G-spot). Other cosmetic procedures, such as breast augmentation, may also be performed, depending on the surgeon.
Full recovery from labiaplasty typically takes 6 weeks, during which time patients are asked to abstain from sexual activity and to avoid using tampons or performing any strenuous activities. Many patients find that they are able to return to work within a week of the surgery. Like any surgery, labiaplasty comes with its own risks, mainly those associated with bleeding, anaesthesia, scarring and infection. Our expert surgeons and specialized techniques ensure that every measure is taken to mitigate surgical risks.
For women who are tired of the pinching and irritation caused by labia hypertrophy, or for those who are simply unsatisfied with the appearance of their intimate area, labiaplasty could be an effective solution.
Hormonal changes, such as those that accompany pregnancy or menopause, can cause hyperpigmentation, or darkening of the labia, which can lead them to look discoloured compared to the surrounding skin. Depigmentation procedures address these concerns using non-surgical laser techniques, and can even correct textural inconsistencies.
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What is labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty, or labial reduction, is a term that encompasses a number of procedures targeted at the labia minora and majora (the inner and outer vaginal “lips”), which aim to correct enlarged, discoloured, elongated, or asymmetric labia.
What different types of labiaplasty are there?
There is no one labiaplasty procedure, but rather various procedures aimed at achieving different results. The Barbie or Smooth labiaplasty is the most dramatic, and typically involves full excision of the labia minora for a smooth “single line” look. The Rim or Peek-A-Boo labiaplasty takes a more conservative approach, allowing a small part of the labia minora to protrude or “peek” out from the labia majora. A Hybrid labiaplasty falls somewhere between the two, usually leaving about a centimetre of the labia minora intact, creating a “clamshell” look. Other labiaplasty procedures include the labia majoraplasty, which target the outer vaginal lips, non-surgical laser labial reduction, and laser depigmentation.
Who is eligible for labiaplasty?
Women of any age who are in good overall health and wish to correct the appearance of their enlarged or irregular labia are good candidates for labiaplasty. In addition, women who have experienced pain or discomfort as a result of large labia that rub or pinch during exercise, intercouse, or when wearing tight clothing may find that labiaplasty provides relief for these conditions.
What are the benefits of labiaplasty?
Most women undergo labiaplasties to improve the function and/or appearance of their labia. Labiaplasty aims to correct enlarged, elongated, asymmetrical, discoloured or otherwise irregular labia. For some women, enlarged labia can cause pain and discomfort as a result of rubbing and pinching while exercising or wearing tight clothing, as well as during intercouse. Labiaplasty can address these issues. Moreover, some women are embarrassed by their enlarged labia, which can lead to lower self-confidence in intimate situations. Many women find that their confidence and self-esteem improves after undergoing labiaplasty.
What causes the labia minora to protrude?
Labial hypertrophy, or enlargement, can occur due to a number of factors, including age, childbirth, trauma or injury, hormonal changes (e.g. menopause), chronic irritation, or simply genetic predisposition.
What techniques are used for labiaplasty?
Because labiaplasty is a highly variable procedure, a number of techniques are used, both surgical and non-surgical. Techniques that target the labia minora include trim/edge resection (the trimming of the labial edge), wedge resection (the removal of a V-shaped wedge from the centre of the labia), and de-epithelialization (an elliptical incision). Several variations on these techniques are also performed. Various techniques also target the labia majora, such as liposuction and excision.
How long does labiaplasty take?
Depending on the level of correction desired, labiaplasty typically takes about an hour, and is performed on an outpatient basis.
How long does it take to recover from labiaplasty?
Most women can return to sedentary work within about a week following labiaplasty. Full recovery normally takes a few weeks, and is highly dependent on the individual and the extent of work done. Sexual activity can usually be resumed after 4-6 weeks, under the advice of a physician. Patients are also advised to avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for about 4-6 weeks following surgery. You can expect some swelling, bruising, and tenderness for the first few days, which can be alleviated by applying cold compresses on and off to the surgical area. Some women report mild to moderate pain and discomfort, which can be treated with prescription pain medication. Light, comfortable clothing is recommended for the first few days, and women can wear a light sanitary napkin for comfort and to keep the area clean and dry.
Is there a risk of scarring after labiaplasty?
Scarring is a risk of any surgery that involves incisions. Patients can rest assured that our surgeons use specialized techniques designed to minimize scarring, or to relegate it to discrete areas that follow the labial folds and creases. Laser techniques greatly reduce the risk of scarring, as they seal and sterilize incisions as they are made. For women who are hesitant about undergoing surgery, advances in laser technology have heralded a non-surgical, non-invasive labial reduction option that virtually eliminates the risk of scarring.
What is the cost of labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty costs at Clinic 360 start at $3,700 plus HST. However, the cost of labiaplasty can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the extent of work being performed, the type of anaesthesia, and the number of simultaneous procedures desired. Booking a consultation is the best way to receive an accurate cost estimate.
Will the cost of labiaplasty be covered by my insurance?
Labiaplasty is considered a cosmetic and therefore elective surgical procedure, and is typically not covered by health insurance. Exceptions may be made for procedures that address medical conditions. Patients are advised to consult with their individual health insurance providers.
Are there any risks associated with labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure which, like any surgery, carries a number of risks, mostly associated with bleeding, infection, anaesthesia, and scarring. Patients can rest assured that Clinic 360 takes every measure to mitigate these risks. New developments in laser technology have greatly reduced risks associated with infection, bleeding, and scarring, as lasers are able seal and sterilize tissue as incisions are made. While labiaplasty may be performed under local anaesthesia, any surgical procedures performed under general anaesthesia require the presence of a qualified anaesthesiologist who is fully trained to address any complications that may arise due to anaesthesia.
What other types of surgeries can be performed with labiaplasty?
Many patients undergoing labiaplasties opt for full vaginal rejuvenation, which includes vaginal tightening. Another common procedure that is performed with labiaplasty is a clitoral hood reduction, which focuses on trimming excess skin surrounding the clitoris in order to increase sensitivity during sexual intercourse. This procedure is easily incorporated into labiaplasty, and usually does not require extra incisions. Other procedures that may be performed simultaneously include hymenoplasty (which repairs a broken hymen), mons pubis reduction (liposuction of the area between the belly and vagina), G-spot amplification (the injection of filler to increase the size of the G-spot), perineoplasty (which repairs the area between the vagina and anus), as well as a number of other cosmetic procedures, such as breast augmentation and rhinoplasty. Price adjustments are often available for patients undergoing multiple procedures.
Does labiaplasty hurt?
The labiaplasty procedure is performed under anaesthetic and is therefore pain-free. Patients may experience mild pain or discomfort following labiaplasty, which can be treated with prescription pain medication.
What kinds of results can I expect following labiaplasty?
It is important to have realistic expectations following labiaplasty. Your results may vary based on the desired outcome indicated at your initial consultation, and for this reason it is highly recommended that you discuss in detail at your consultation the level of correction you desire, as once tissue is removed, it cannot be replaced. You can expect your labia to be trimmed and corrected to your desired specifications, and for their symmetry to be restored. For a more concrete idea of what to expect, ask your surgeon for before and after photos from consenting patients. You should start to see results within 2-3 weeks, once all swelling subsides. Full results should be apparent after a few months, as the area heals completely.