Labiaplasty (also known as labioplasty, labia minora reduction, and labial reduction) is a plastic surgery procedure for altering the folds of skin surrounding the human vulva (inner labia).

The size and shape of labia vary significantly, and may change as a result of childbirth, aging, and other events. While some women are born with larger than average genitalia, others experience changes due to childbirth and aging, as hormones and time can enlarge the labia. The term labiaplasty refers to a procedure that reduces the length of the inner labia and it is the most commonly performed vaginal rejuvenation surgery.

Candidates for this procedure are those with no underlying condition who experience physical or psychological discomfort due to size and shape of their inner labia.

Many women suffer from labial hypertrophy and are often embarrassed and self-conscious about their condition.

This can have an incredibly detrimental effect on a woman’s self-esteem and sexual confidence, making intimacy difficult to initiate.

It can also cause soreness when riding a bike and exercising or during intercourse.

A labiaplasty may be performed to reduce asymmetry when one is longer than the other or, more commonly, to reduce the length of both labia so that the labia no longer twist, tug or fall out of a bathing suit.

Labiaplasty should not be done on girls younger than 18 because the labia continues to develop beyond puberty into early adulthood.

The typical labiaplasty technique consists in simple resection of tissues at the free edge of the labia minora: the extra tissue is removed and sewn up directly with fine, dissolvable stitches.

Although labiaplasty is a surgical procedure performed in a very sensitive area, it is actually a relatively minor surgical procedure that takes around an hour to perform.

Often the scar blends in very well into the labia minora tissue, which naturally has multiple wrinkles and folds. It might be so well hidden that it may not even be visible.

Post-operative pain is minimal, and patients are usually able to leave hospital the same day. No vaginal packing is required, although wearing a sanitary pad for comfort may be advised.

The reduced labia are often very swollen during the early post-operative period, because of the edema caused by the procedure itself and by the anaesthetic solution injected in the tissues.

Depending on her progress, patients can resume physically unstrenuous work three to four days after surgery.

To allow the wounds to heal, patients should not use tampons, wear tight clothes (e.g. thong underwear), and should abstain from sexual intercourse for 6 weeks after surgery.

While the most distorting swelling is gone by 6 weeks, residual swelling may take six months to disappear.

After a properly done labiaplasty, sensation should not change in the long term, though it may temporarily diminish in the early post-operative period as the wounds heal and the swelling subsides.