Labioplasty, the surgical reduction of the labia minora, the inner lips of the vaginal lips, is an increasingly popular cosmetic surgery procedure. Women from their teens on often consider treatment for what can be an embarrassing condition – labia enlargement. The surgical goal is to reduce the size of a woman’s labia minora and make them more symmetrical so they don’t protrude or hang beyond the labia majora. Women often consider the surgery to avoid embarrassment, the stigma of labial enlargement that can be seen through clothing or observed in intimate situations, for comfort, and less commonly for chafing. In some circumstances, psychosocial and functional difficulties, as well as physical discomfort, are motivations for women to undergo the procedure. Labial enlargement may be due to hereditary congenital anomaly, due to aging, pregnancies or a variety of other causes.
The surgical procedure to reduce labia is done as an outpatient procedure and often takes less than one hour. There is minimal discomfort associated with it and the sutures that are used dissolve on their own. Following surgery, patients should avoid sexual encounters, significant physical exertion and exercise for approximately one month. The condition rarely recurs and is often lasts a lifetime.
Recent studies indicate that labioplasty has a high degree of patient satisfaction and success. Complications are infrequent but can include hematoma, infection, and wound breakdown.