What is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to make large labia smaller to a normal size. Labiaplasty also resculpts or reshapes the labia to a normal cosmetic appearance. The labia minora (or inner tissue / lips) is the skin that covers the clitoris and vaginal opening on each side. Women with large or uneven, redundant or hanging inner labia skin, often complain of feeling embarrassed, insecure or uncomfortable when it comes to intimate relations, exercise or wearing fitted clothing. Often, this relatively simple surgical procedure can restore the size and shape to a proportionate look and be more comfortable. Large labia can cause physical discomfort and irritation in everyday activities, sports and wearing clothes. Labiaplasty surgery not only corrects any concerns but can enhance your confidence, self-esteem and quality of life. Women usually state that after surgery, it was a "life-changing" thing for them and "they wish they had done it sooner!"
There are two types of labiaplasty:
- Labia Minora (inner lips) Reduction: Many women do not like the large labia minora as it can be embarrassing. Large labia may be the result from trauma, childbirth, advancing age, or some women are just born with large labia. Large labia minora can also cause discomfort with sports such as riding a bicycle/motorcycle and wearing exercise tights/clothing. Labial reduction or labiaplasty corrects any and all of these issues.
- Labia Majora (outer lips) Reduction: This can be caused by childbirth, weight gain or loss, or a woman can be born with large labia majora. Usually liposuction or trimming the labia majora will greatly improve the size and comfort that a woman desires. This is traditionally a one hour procedure, it is not only very tolerable but most patients say they don't experience much pain, if any, and don't need to take any pain medication for this procedure. A day or two of using ice packs is enough for any discomfort they experience.
Am I a Good Patient for Labiaplasty or Labial Reduction Surgery?
If you feel like any of the ailments we mentioned above pertain to you, then yes, you are candidate for the surgery.
Why do I have enlarged or large labia?
- Congenital- Most women have always had enlarged or large labia- in other words, they were “born with it” or it developed over the pubertal/teenage years.
- Acquired- other common causes of enlarged labia may be post-pregnancy or just with the normal aging process. Stretching of the skin happens with time and constant irritation may also cause large labia. Rarely, enlarged labia may be the result of hormones-especially androgens that stimulate growth of the labia.
Am I a good candidate for Labiaplasty or Labial Reduction Surgery if it is just one side that appears "not normal"?
Large Labia- With enlarged labia, women may have problems with hygiene, tampon placement, urine stream, urinary tract infections, sexual intercourse and other issues. Bilateral reduction labiaplasty is the recommended procedure.
Uneven or Asymmetric Labia- Often one labia may be larger than the other, and this may be of concern. This may be the result of previous surgerys, trauma or one may have always had different sized labia. Unilateral Labiaplasty to reduce the larger labia will restore the symmetry and “normal” appearance.
Abnormal appearance or cosmetic concerns- Dr. Lo wants women to know that "no two women are made the same, and that each and every one is made in their own unique way, so saying what is 'normal' is often not quite the way to think, it's more about what each individual feels or perceives to be 'normal' and what they personally desire as they watch their body change over time. Often women who do not like the way the labia looks, or perhaps feel it does not look “normal" the way they want it to, is because their labia have darkened over time, or become hyper-pigmented. The usual color of the labia is pinkish or the women’s normal skin color.
Dr. Lo will discuss with you your concerns, and how labiaplasty can correct hyperpigmentation and other concerns that you may have and help you achieve the look that you desire.
Most women who have labiaplasty surgery do so for both cosmetic and functional concerns. In other words, women wish their labia to look better and more normal and to help with whatever symptoms they may be having.
Dr. Adrian Lo uses different surgical techniques for labiaplasty depending on your individual situation. He evaluates your labial anatomy and will discuss how he can make you feel more comfortable with the cosmetic appearance of your labia and improve the discomfort you may be having. In any labiaplasty surgery, the labia should be at the level of the labia majora or slightly below but there can be personal preferences. Based on Dr. Lo’s experience, he will perform the proper labial reduction surgery that will give you the best result.
Labiaplasty surgery takes about 1 hour. The surgery is performed at Pennsylvania hospital or Pennsylvania hospitals surgicenter, called the Tuttleman Center, under twilight anesthesia or general anesthesia, depending on what is needed and also your wishes. It is outpatient surgery and you go home the same day. After surgery there will be some swelling and bruising. You will receive a prescription for pain relief medication and antibiotics. You may use an ice pack and a feminine pad for any drainage. You will clean the area as instructed. The stitches all dissolve by themselves, the cuts or surgical incisions will heal in 1-2 weeks. Usually, the scars heal well and you can't see them. You should be back to work in 3-5 days. Sexual intercourse may be resumed in 3-4 weeks.
Psychology of Labiaplasty Surgery:
A recent study had shown that women having labiaplasty surgery are happier with their genital appearance and report improved self-esteem and confidence, better self-image and sexual satisfaction (Aesthetic Surgery Journal Oct 2016)
Many women report that their dissatisfaction with their labial appearance have affected their sex lives negatively prior to surgery. Women are anxious about their partners seeing or touching their labia, particularly during oral sex and nervous about beginning new relationships. After labiaplasty, women report being more comfortable, relieved, less anxious and “free”. Obviously if there are deeper psychological issues with sexual relationships, labiaplasty will not help.
Most women who have had labiaplasty surgery have done research on the procedure, compared their labial appearance to other women (by internet pictures) thought about their goals, wishes and expected look after the surgery and are realistic.
Labia come in all shapes and sizes, but it only matters how you feel about your labia. Often, women who come to Dr. Lo have had negative comments from sexual partners or relatives about the size or appearance about their labia. Other women report to Dr. Lo that their partners did not mind the large labia or “flaps” but ultimately it is the women’s personal feeling about their labia that convinces the women to have labiaplasty surgery.
Women who have labiaplasty surgery report both functional reasons and cosmetic appearance reasons for seeking surgery. Difficulty with clothes, bikinis, showing in underwear thongs or falling out, rubbing, horseback riding are common issues. Often women may be hesitant or embarrassed to acknowledge that the main reason for seeking labiaplasty surgery is to improve the look or appearance. Dr. Lo believes that you should be true to your feelings and not be embarrassed if your main reason to have labiaplasty is to improve the look of your labia.
Satisfaction after surgery is very high with many women reporting “I love it, couldn’t be happier”, “why didn’t I do this sooner? Their confidence and self-esteem improved immensely.
Dr. Lo believes that for many women, labiaplasty surgery can be very rewarding. Dr. Lo advises all patients to have realistic expectations and that your situation can be improved significantly more to your liking but do not expect “perfection”.
Results of Labiaplasty Surgery
Most women are pleased with the outcome of their labiaplasty surgery. Most women report being pleased with the cosmetic appearance of their labia, increased self-esteem and enhanced sex life. The majority of patients also had complete improvement of their functional symptoms.
When can I go back to work after Labiaplasty surgery?
Most women go back to work in 2-4 days after the surgery, depending on how comfortable they feel. Most women do not have a lot of pain after this surgery but of course the amount of pain varies from woman to woman.
When can I resume exercise after Labiaplasty surgery?
Strenuous exercise such as aerobics, treadmill, spinning and weight lifting may be started at 4 weeks post surgery. Light exercise may be started at 2 weeks.
When can I resume sexual relations after Labiaplasty surgery?
Usually when all the incisions are healed and all discomfort from the surgery is gone, then sexual relations may be resumed at 4-6 weeks post surgery.
After labiaplasty surgery, will I lose sensation?
Labiaplasty surgery should not affect your sensation or pleasurable feelings during sexual intimacy. Most women report more pleasure during sexual intimacy because there is no longer irritation and discomfort from the large labia and because of better self-esteem.
After my labiaplasty surgery, will my sexual partner notice a difference?
Usually, your partner will notice that sexual relations are improved after labiaplasty, with the labia looking more pleasing, proportioned and no longer causing possible irritation during intercourse.
Can I still have labiaplasty surgery if I don’t have children yet?
Yes, having labiaplasty surgery will not affect your ability to have children in the future.
Although Dr. Lo does not normally recommend labiaplasty for teenagers there may be situations where he would recommend it. There are situations where one labia is much larger than the other, which would be an asymmetry situation. This can cause issues with clothes fitting along with the appearance issue which can lead to severe embarrassment. This can easily be corrected by trimming the larger labia to match the normal sized labia.
There are situations where both labia are so large, that it would be appropriate to have labiaplasty surgery as a teenager.
In any event, labiaplasty surgery in a teenager must be considered carefully and in consultation with the parents (or legal guardian) about the pros and cons of labiaplasty surgery
Risks of Labiaplasty Surgery
With any surgery, there are risks. This surgery is relatively simple but there are risks such as bleeding, infection, healing problems, asymmetry, bad scars and chronic pain. The risks don't happen often, however, Dr. Lo will discuss these risks with you.
Other Female Genital Surgery
Clitoral Hood Reduction- This may also be performed at the same time as labiaplasty if there is too much skin covering the clitoris. The excess skin often makes a woman feel embarrassed or causes problems with sexual stimulation.
Post Labiaplasty Clitoral Hood Deformity- Corrected by clitoral hood skin reduction is when assessing the female anatomy, it is important that the clitoral area been examined carefully before surgery. Dr. Lo has found that if one performs a labiaplasty without considering the clitoral area, then the clitoral area can look too big and women may not be happy with the result of their labiaplasty. This is called Post Labiaplasty Clitoral Hood Deformity. To avoid this condition, Dr. Lo will assess your clitoral area for excess skin or bulk and may recommend removal of the extra skin in this area. This is called clitoral hood skin reduction and would be performed with your labiaplasty procedure. This is a safe procedure with minimal scarring that will improve the overall cosmetic appearance of your labia. There is no disturbance of your clitoris and will not affect your sexual arousal.
Mons Pubis Surgery-
The mons pubis is an important area for aesthetics and may be unattractive, uncomfortable or both, for many reasons.
- Fatty Mons pubis - If you are overweight, or have gained weight, the fat may accumulate in the mons pubis area. Often, this area will still stay fatty or “puffy” even if you lose weight. The recommended treatment is advanced liposuction to remove the fat and to shape and contour the mons pubis.
- With age, the skin of the mons pubis may relax and sag. There can be weight gain with age causing fat to accumulate in the mons pubis. This may result in a “puffy” and saggy mons pubis area that can show in jeans and clothing. Sometimes, it can even be tender or painful. The recommended treatment is a mons pubis lift with advanced liposuction for sculpting and contouring.
- With weight loss, a mons pubis that was fatty, now is smoother and flatter but the skin is loose and likely to hang. The recommended surgical treatment to correct this is a mons pubis lift.
- With tummy tuck surgery, Dr. Lo always evaluates the mons pubis area. A patient may need mons pubis surgery in combination with a tummy tuck to improve the overall cosmetic look. In many situations, Dr. Lo will perform advanced liposuction to shape and contour the mons pubis as part of the tummy tuck surgery. In more severe situations, a mini mons pubis lift may be recommended.
- With severe weight loss, such as patients who have had gastric bypass, lap banding or similar procedures, the mons pubis often is very saggy and puffy at the same time. It can be extremely unattractive and these are some of the most severe cases that Dr. Lo has seen and treated. The recommended treatment is a combination of an extended mons pubis lift, direct fat excision and advanced liposuction to give the best result possible.
Recovery from Mons Pubis Surgery
The surgery is performed in an accredited surgicenter called the Tuttleman Center, or the outpatient facility of Pennsylvania Hospital. Usually a twilight sedation or general anesthesia is administered to ensure your comfort and avoid pain and discomfort. A board certified doctor anesthesiologist is in charge of your care and Dr. Lo and his team of nurses ensure the best outcome possible.
Before the surgery, the mons pubis area is prepped with antiseptic solution, but shaving is not required.
The surgery takes about 1 hour and you go home the same day. You will have a light dressing on the area and compression underwear such as Spanx. The purpose of the compression underwear is to support the mons pubis area and to control swelling and bruising. You are allowed to change the dressing the next day and to shower and wash the mons pubis. You will be given pain relief medication and antibiotics. The surgery is not usually that painful but most patients take pain medication for 1-2 days. You are allowed to walk around and do normal day to day activities but nothing strenuous. Most patients take about few days off work. Driving is allowed whenever you feel comfortable in 3-5 days. Exercise is allowed in 2 weeks. You will follow up with Dr. Lo in 1 week for a checkup. All the stitches dissolve by themselves. You will see the final result in 1-3 months.
Costs of Labiaplasty and Mons Pubis Surgery;
- The cost of labiaplasty surgery ranges from $4,000 to $6,900 depending on which labiaplasty procedure is recommended. The average cost for a standard labiaplasty surgery is $4,920 including hospital and anesthesia charges.
- The cost of mons pubis surgery ranges from $3,500 to $5,500 depending on whether mons pubis liposuction, mini mons pubis lift or an extended mons pubis lift is recommended. This includes hospital and anesthesia costs.
- We accept cash, certified check, money orders, and credit cards. Financing is available through Carecredit.com or Alphaeon.com.