Labiaplasty or labia surgery is a surgical procedure performed to alter the labia minora (the inner lips) or the labia majora (the outer lips) of the vulva. It is typically done for cosmetic reasons, to reduce the size or change the shape of the labia. However, it can also be performed for medical reasons such as addressing physical discomfort, pain, irritation, or recurrent rashes caused by enlarged or asymmetrical labia.

What are the Labia?

The vulva, which refers to a woman’s external genitalia, consists of two sets of labia. These are known as the labia minora, which are the inner lips, and the labia majora, which are the outer lips. The labia majora encompasses the external genital area. On the other hand, the labia minora are the two folds of skin located on each side of the vaginal opening and are situated within the labia majora.

The labia minora, also known as the inner lips, play a crucial role in maintaining optimal moisture and hygiene levels of the vulva and vagina. They contribute to the natural lubrication and protection of the vaginal area.

On the other hand, the labia majora serves as a protective barrier for the delicate soft tissues of the vulva. It contains pubic hairs, which have a protective function by minimising stress and friction on the rest of the vulva. This hair helps safeguard the vulva and surrounding areas.

Why do Women have Labiaplasty Surgery?

Labiaplasty surgery can address the following:

  • Physical discomfort, pain, irritation, or recurrent rashes caused by enlarged or asymmetrical labia
  • Aesthetic concerns due to enlarged or asymmetrical labia

Clitoral Hood Reduction with Dr Turner

Clitoral hood reduction, also known as hoodectomy, is a surgical procedure designed for women who experience excessive skin and hood covering the clitoral region. This procedure involves the careful trimming of excess skin. It can also address issues such as discomfort and irritation caused by excessive skin and hood covering the clitoral region.

Clitoral hood reduction is often combined with labiaplasty surgery in some cases as required.

How Does Normal-Looking Labia Appear?

Every woman has unique genital anatomy which includes variations in the appearance of the labia and clitoral hood. There is no universally defined aesthetic ‘normal’ for labial appearance. Some women may notice that their labia minora protrudes beyond the labia majora during puberty, while others may experience enlargement of the labia minora after pregnancy.

Ideally, the labia majora should provide complete coverage of the labia minora. However, over time, the labia minora may enlarge and extend beyond the labia majora. This can expose the delicate mucosal tissue of the labia minora to friction, resulting in pain, discomfort, and hygiene concerns.

It is important to understand that there is no ‘standard’ or ‘normal’ size or shape for labia. The size and shape of the labia are primarily influenced by genetics, but changes can also occur due to factors such as ageing and childbirth. Each individual’s labial anatomy is unique and should be embraced as a natural variation rather than striving for a specific standard of appearance.

About Labiaplasty Surgery

With modern labiaplasty techniques, we aim to correct large or misshapen labia and change the external appearance of the perineum.

Labiaplasty surgery is conducted under general anaesthesia in an accredited hospital, with the support of an anaesthetist. The procedure typically lasts between one and two hours. During the surgery, small incisions are made to remove excess tissue while reducing or reshaping the labia minora.

Different Labiaplasty Surgery Techniques

Different labiaplasty techniques can be done to meet your unique needs. There is a range of different techniques that can be used, alone or in conjunction with others.

  1. Tissue Trim Technique

The original technique used in labiaplasty was simply removing the tissue at the free edge of the labia minora. This method can be a good option for women who want to address the darkening of the inner labia, that comes with age and pregnancy.

The disadvantage of this technique is that the natural texture of the labia minora is lost. There’s also an increased risk of nerve damage. A major limitation of this technique is that it can’t deal with excess tissue around the clitoral hood.

  1. De-Epithelization Technique

The de-epithelization technique allows you to maintain the texture of the labia minora edge. With this method, an incision is made in the inner and outer walls. The disadvantage of the de-epithelialization technique is that the labium width could increase if a considerable amount of tissue needs to be de-epithelialized, adding bulk to the labia. Also for those with large labia, the free margin is not reduced in length.

  1. Wedge Resection Technique

The wedge resection technique removes a wedge of tissue from the labia minora’s thickest portion. This method preserves the labia’s natural texture.

There is, however, the potential for nerve damage when done as a full-thickness resection. Another drawback is that this method doesn’t address the hyperpigmentation of the labial edge and if too much tension is applied, then there is a risk of wound separation.

Dr Turner’s Unique Style of Labia Surgery

There is no one best technique and the best option for you could require a blend of multiple techniques. To find the best approach, Dr Turner will create a plan that is customised to your unique needs. When several methods are used in combination, it is called a composite labiaplasty. Dr Turner will have an in-depth conversation to assess your needs and then discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of the traditional techniques to create a treatment plan.

Recovery after Clitoral Hood Reduction

It is important to remember that each person is different and heals at a slightly different pace. You can go back to work within three to four days after the surgery. You will have a follow-up post-op appointment, which should not be missed. During the first two weeks after the surgery, your body will start to heal. By the end of week two, you can get back to your usual activities.

It is best to avoid sexual intercourse for the first six weeks after the surgery. Always look for any signs of infection and if you spot any, immediately get in touch with your surgeon.

Risks and Complications of Labiaplasty

Like any surgical procedure, labiaplasty has risks and complications, such as:

  • Adverse reaction to anaesthesia
  • Asymmetry
  • Bleeding
  • Changes in sensation
  • Difficulty with sexual function
  • Dissatisfaction with cosmetic results
  • Haematoma (collection of blood outside blood vessels)
  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Over- or under-correction
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Scarring
  • Swelling