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Labiaplasty (labial reduction)

Surgery to change the shape and size of your labia (vaginal lips)

Gynaecologist and patient discuss labiaplasty (labial reduction) in a consultation room
The labia are the folds of tissue that surround the vaginal opening. There are two types of labia, the labia minora (inner labia) and labia majora (outer labia).

A labiaplasty is an operation to alter the size or shape of the labia.

Labia vary greatly amongst women in terms of colour, shape, length and size, and there is a wide range of what constitutes 'normal' labia.

Some women are unhappy with the appearance of their labia or experience discomfort due to their size or shape. If this is the case, a labiaplasty may be a good option.

This page explains what labiaplasty is, what happens during labiaplasty and what to expect after the procedure.

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private labiaplasty with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.

Having enlarged, or long labia minora that hang below the labia majora can cause discomfort during some types of physical activity like sex or exercise. It can also make wearing certain clothes like tight-fitting leggings or a bathing suit uncomfortable.

Many women dislike the appearance of their labia and feel self-conscious about the way they look. The appearance of the labia may also change due to factors like age, pregnancy, and childbirth.

Labiaplasty can also be performed on male-to-female transgender patients as part of gender reassignment surgery.

At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant gynaecologist or plastic surgeon.

Your consultant will talk to you about why you are considering a labiaplasty. They will explain what happens during the procedure, what to expect during your recovery and any possible risks and complications of surgery. They may perform a physical examination to examine your labia and tell you what kind of result you can expect from surgery.

Why is this first consultation so important?

At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is important as it's where we get to know you, discuss your expectations for treatment and encourage you to ask any questions you may have. It is important to us that you are as well-informed and comfortable as possible before, during, and after your procedure, so please ask your consultant as many questions as you need to during your consultation.

Your consultant will tell you everything you need to do to prepare for your surgery. If there's anything you're not sure about, or if you have any questions about how to prepare for your surgery, speak to your consultant or call the hospital for advice.

Being well-prepared for your surgery will help ease any anxiety you may have, as well as allow your surgery and recovery to go more smoothly.

Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have and any medication, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Your consultant may tell you to stop taking some medications like blood thinners before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after your surgery.

You may not be able to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your procedure. Check with your consultant if you can eat and drink before your surgery.

What lifestyle changes can I make before surgery?

Being as healthy as possible before your surgery can reduce the risk of complications and speed up your recovery. Some lifestyle changes you can make before your surgery include:

  • If you smoke try to stop at least eight weeks before your operation
  • Avoid alcohol for at least a few days before and after your surgery. Alcohol makes your blood thinner and may increase the risk of bleeding
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Lose weight if necessary

Labiaplasty is normally performed under local anaesthetic which means the area will be numb, but you will be awake for the procedure. In some cases, you may be given a general anaesthetic.

Labiaplasty usually takes between one and two hours.

Labiaplasty on the labia minora (inner labia): Trim procedure

This is the original labiaplasty technique and remains the most common type of labiaplasty procedure. During the operation, the excess tissue of the labia minora is removed bringing the inner labia in line with the outer labia.

Labiaplasty on the labia minora (inner labia): Wedge procedure

This is a newer technique where a V-shaped wedge is removed from both sides of the labia minora, and the remaining edges are stitched together with dissolvable stitches.

Labiaplasty on the labia majora (outer labia)

Labiaplasty on the labia majora involves either:

  • Injecting fat or fillers into the outer labia to increase plumpness
  • Using liposuction or removing tissue from the outer labia to reduce plumpness

What happens during your surgery depends on the result you are looking for and your preferences. Talk to your consultant about what will happen during your labiaplasty.

Recovering from any kind of surgery is different for everyone and depends on factors such as your age, general health, and what was done during your procedure.

After your surgery, your labia will be quite sore and swollen. Your consultant will prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatories to help with this as well as antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. You will need to use sanitary pads for a few days as you may have some post-operative bleeding.

You can help to reduce the swelling by lying with your bottom elevated on a pillow and applying ice packs to your labia (over your underwear) for five to ten minutes, several times a day.

Most of the swelling will go down after about two to three weeks, but your labia may remain slightly swollen for up to six weeks.

After your labiaplasty:

  • Wear loose clothing including underwear to reduce friction and pressure on your labia
  • Avoid exercise and strenuous activity until your consultant tells you it's safe (normally around four to eight weeks)
  • Do not have vaginal intercourse or use tampons for four to six weeks

Your consultant will arrange follow-up appointments to check your progress during your recovery.

How many nights will I need to stay in hospital?

Labiaplasty is normally done as a day case which means you'll be able to go home the same day.

Will I be able to drive home?

You will not be able to drive home from the hospital after your labiaplasty. Ask someone to collect you, or we can arrange a taxi if you prefer.

How soon can I go back to work?

Most patients return to work about a week after surgery. Depending on the type of job you do, you may need to take longer off work. Talk to your consultant about when you can expect to go back to work after your surgery.

How soon can I drive?

You should avoid driving or any activity that involves sitting for long periods of time for around two weeks after labiaplasty. Talk to your consultant about when you can expect to drive after your procedure.

When will I be back to normal?

When you will be back to normal after your labiaplasty depends on the type of procedure you had, your general health and individual recovery. You can help speed up your recovery by being as healthy as possible before and after your surgery and following your consultant's instructions carefully.

Most people are fully recovered by around six to eight weeks after surgery.

Labiaplasty offers a variety of benefits for many women including:

  • Increased confidence
  • Increased comfort in clothing
  • Reduced pain and discomfort
  • Improved hygiene and health
  • Increased sexual pleasure

Labiaplasty is a generally safe procedure, but as with any type of surgery, there is a small risk of complications.

Your consultant will explain all the possible risks and complications of labiaplasty before your surgery and answer any questions you may have.

Being as well-informed as possible will help put your mind at rest and allow you to make an informed decision about your surgery.

General risks of surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic

Possible complications of labiaplasty include:

  • Scarring
  • Reduced sensitivity
  • Numbness
  • Slow wound healing

We answer some of your most commonly asked questions about labiaplasty

Can you get a labiaplasty on the NHS?

Labiaplasty is not usually available on the NHS except in certain cases. You may be a candidate for labiaplasty on the NHS if you were born with abnormal labia, your labia are damaged by trauma or childbirth, or to remove cancerous tissue in patients with vulval cancer.

How do I clean after labiaplasty?

After your labiaplasty, your surgical incisions need to be kept clean and dry. You should shower twice a day and clean the area with warm water, but no soap. Pat the area dry afterwards. After using the toilet rinse the area with warm water and pat dry.

Is recovery from labiaplasty painful?

You may experience mild pain for a few days after your labiaplasty. Your consultant will prescribe painkillers to help with this. Applying ice packs over your underwear, keeping your bottom elevated and taking sitz baths can also help relieve any pain and discomfort.

How long does the swelling last after labiaplasty?

Swelling after labiaplasty usually begins to subside in around one to three weeks, but you may have some residual swelling for up to six months after your surgery.

Can you lose feeling after labiaplasty?

In some cases, you may experience reduced sensation after your labiaplasty. This is normally due to bruising and swelling and usually resolves within twelve weeks of the procedure.

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant best suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about labiaplasty, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in January 2023. Next review due January 2026.

  1. Labioplasty (vulval surgery) , NHS
  2. What is a labiaplasty and what does it involve? , American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  3. Labiaplasty, Cleveland Clinic
  4. Labiaplasty Minora Reduction, PubMed

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