Labia Reduction Surgery in Manchester, NH
Leading Labiaplasty Procedures
By Daniel A. Sterling, MD, FACS
Labia reduction, also known as labiaplasty or labioplasty, is a procedure that has become increasingly popular among women of all ages. It involves reducing the size of the labia minora which results in less projection and bulk of the inner “lips” of the vagina. You may have seen advertisements describing genital cosmetic surgery as “vaginal rejuvenation” or “designer vagina” or various other phrases. My approach is much more conservative for what most women consider a very private type of surgery. I avoid that type of flashy promotion. I have considerable experience in labia reduction, having performed more labiaplasties than virtually every physician in New England.
Many women will ask during a consultation if they are “normal”. My response is that there are many variations of normal anatomy of the female genitals so your subjective feelings about your appearance are very important. Enlarged labia may be less than attractive to you, but you may also have functional complaints such as discomfort during exercise, or druing sexual relations in the case of Dyspareunia. You may also feel that when wearing certain types of clothing your labia appear more pronounced than you would like. You may find that after your surgery you have more confidence in your appearance and many women relate enhanced sexual satisfaction.
Your consultation is done in my private office setting with great attention paid to a discrete approach to the procedure. Multiple options in terms of anesthesia and location are available to make the experience as stress-free as possible for you.
The bottom line is that labia reduction can provide a very natural, attractive appearance with excellent cosmetic and functional results. There is virtually no scarring and within three months it is difficult to tell that you’ve even had surgery. In fact, I tell my patients that my experience with labiaplasty has been one of consistent, beautiful results with extremely happy patients.
What is labia reduction surgery?
Labia reduction, or labiaplasty, is a procedure which removes a portion of the labia minora or inner vaginal lips in a very precise surgical procedure. The result is a single, straight line incision that is closed with absorbable sutures which dissolve over the course of several weeks. What you can expect after surgery is that you will have minimal to no projection of the inner lips (labia minora) beyond the edge of the outer lips (labia majora). This eliminates a number of issues that having enlarged labia can cause such as abrasion or irritation during intercourse or exercise, as well as being visible in tight fitting clothing. Once you are fully healed, it is highly unlikely that a partner would be able to tell that you’ve even had surgery.
How do I prepare for labia reduction surgery?
There is not a lot of preparation required. We ask that you shave the area two days prior to the procedure as this reduces the risk of infection compared to shaving performed at the time of surgery. You should have ice at home for the evening after your procedure, as well as some ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, Aleve, etc.). We will provide you with prescriptions for anxiety and pain reduction which you fill prior to the day of surgery. If you are anxious about the procedure, I encourage you to take the anti-anxiety medication the evening before your surgery so that you feel more comfortable.
What are the risks and complications I should know about?
The risk/complication profile of labiaplasty is very low, meaning that it is the rare patient who experiences any problem. The most common complication is a collection of blood (hematoma) in the area of surgery that requires drainage the day after surgery. This occurs in less than 1% of my patients. You can expect some mild bleeding the night of surgery which tapers off by the next morning. You can also expect swelling and bruising of the labia which resolve over the course of several days and is completely normal. The genital area is highly resistant to infection and I have not had to treat a patient for that problem.
The labia are extremely rich in nerve endings thus there is a very low risk of loss of sensation. As I mentioned above, most women find that they have enhanced sexuality following labia reduction.
What type of anesthesia is used for labia reduction surgery?
There are multiple options available from local only (lidocaine and marcaine), to a combination of local anesthetic and oral sedation, or if you prefer to be asleep an anesthesiologist can administer sedation or general anesthesia. The vast majority of women opt for local only, which allows them to drive themselves to and from the procedure. There is minimal discomfort which lasts for approximately 3-4 seconds while the anesthetic is being injected. Once that takes effect you have absolutely no discomfort until 4-6 hours after the procedure at which time you will have started taking the prescribed analgesics (pain medication) to alleviate the pain.
What are the steps of the procedure?
For the procedure, you lay flat on the table with your legs in stirrups. The genital area is washed with a sterile cleanser and drapes are placed over the area. We talk you through every step, and once the local anesthetic has been administered you feel no discomfort at all. The surgery then takes approximately 45 minutes from start to finish and you are able to leave as soon as you feel comfortable. Full instructions are given weeks before surgery so that you have all of the information you need prior to your procedure date. We strive to make the procedure as comfortable physically and emotionally for you as we possibly can.
What is recovery like after labia reduction?
The evening of surgery you will have moderate discomfort that is easily controlled with a combination of ibuprofen, Vicodin or Percocet, and ice. You will have some oozing that night but it will stop by the following morning. Within 48 hours, most of the discomfort is gone and usually ibuprofen or Tylenol will suffice to ease any lingering pain. The sutures (stitches) will be visible for several weeks until they dissolve. There will also be some swelling and bruising which resolve within days of the procedure.
Tampons and intercourse are to be strictly avoided during the first 3-4 weeks after surgery. After that time I remove all restrictions. You are seen in the office one week and three months after surgery for follow up and instructions. I also ask that you check in at one year either in person or by phone to insure your level of satisfaction with the procedure.
What can I expect for results?
As mentioned above, you can expect to have a beautiful appearance afterward with virtually no evidence of surgery once you have fully healed. There will be minimal to no projection of the labia beyond the outside vaginal lips. Approximately 2% of my patients require a minor revision if residual excess tissue is present. Labia reduction is a very safe procedure with minimal risks and complications in my experience.
Are photos available of prior patients?
Yes, many photos are available for you to view in the office. I prefer not to display them on the internet due to the privacy of the procedure.
Questions to ask my surgeon?
Are you board certified?
How many of this procedure have you done?
Are your patients satisfied with their results?
Do many patients require revisions?