A labiaplasty is surgery to reduce the size of the labia minora – the flaps of skin either side of the vaginal opening.It should not be done on girls younger than 18 because the labia continues to develop beyond puberty into early adulthood.Some women want a labiaplasty because they do not like the look of their labia. But it's completely normal to have noticeable skin folds around the opening of your vagina. In most cases, it does not cause any problems, which is why labiaplasty is rarely available on the NHS.The size, colour, and shape of labia vary significantly, and may change as a result of childbirth, aging, and other events. Conditions addressed by labiaplasty include congenital defects and abnormalities such as vaginal atresia (absent vaginal passage), Müllerian agenesis (malformed uterus and fallopian tubes), intersex conditions (male and female sexual characteristics in a person); and tearing and stretching of the labia minora caused by childbirth, accident, and age. In a male-to-female sexual reassignment vaginoplasty for the creation of a neovagina, labiaplasty creates labia where once there were none.
Having a labiaplasty is a big decision that you should think about carefully. It can be expensive and carries a number of risks.
There's also no guarantee you'll get the result you expected, and it will not necessarily make you feel better about your body.
If you're thinking about having a labiaplasty, discuss it with your GP first.
You may have a condition that's causing discomfort, which can be treated. Or there may be a reason why the operation is not suitable for you.
Your GP may advise you to speak to a counsellor or psychologist before committing to surgery.
Reconstructive surgery improves the function of a body part, while cosmetic surgery changes the aesthetics of essentially normal anatomy. You can think of it like a nose job: a surgeon can restructure the interior nasal cavities to help you breathe better or reshape the nose, just for the sake of appearances. It's a critical distinction, because the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists evaluates surgeries and outcomes to fix functional problems, such as urinary incontinence. But ACOG remains skeptical and cautious about cosmetic vaginal surgery because of its risks and lack of scientific data on safety and effectiveness. Some vaginoplasty procedures, for instance, were originally developed as reconstructive surgeries to repair birth defects when the vagina was malformed, too short, or absent (such as in vaginal agensis), so that a girl could grow up to have normal urination, menstruation, and intercourse.
The size of labia varies among women: while the labia minora remain hidden between the labia majora in some women (top row), they "stick out" in other women (bottom row), with the protruding labia clearly visible in standing position.
The external genitalia of a woman are collectively known as the vulva. This comprises the labia majora (outer labia), the labia minora (inner labia), the clitoris, the urethra, and the vagina. The labia majora extend from the mons pubis to the perineum.
The size, shape, and color of women's inner labia vary greatly.One is usually larger than the other. They may be hidden by the outer labia, or may be visible, and may become larger with sexual arousal, sometimes two to three times their usual diameter.
The size of the labia can change because of childbirth. Genital piercing can increase labial size and asymmetry, because of the weight of the ornaments. In the course of treating identical twin sisters, S.P. Davison et al reported that the labia were the same size in each woman, which indicated genetic determination. In or around 2004, researchers from the Department of Gynaeology, Elizabeth Garret Anderson Hospital, London, measured the labia of 50 women between the ages of 18 and 50, with a mean age of 35.6.
You may need up to 2 weeks off work to recover. It can take a couple of months for the skin to fully heal.
During this time you need to:
It's normal after a labiaplasty to have soreness, bruising and swelling for up to 2 weeks.
During this time, peeing and sitting may also be uncomfortable. You'll be given painkillers to help with this.