dr. J. VANDEPUTTE

Plastic Surgery

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labia minora reduction (labiaplasty)

The shape and the size of the labia minora (inner labia) differ a lot from woman to woman. It is completely normal that they protrude outside the outer labia, that their colour is pink, red, purple, brown or blackish, or that one is larger than the other. Some ladies have labia minora that end in the base of the clitoris only. In some, there is a second skin fold that continues into the clitoral hood. There may be a third fold that extends further forward than the clitoral hood.

Markedly protruding inner labia may be a bit more prone to irritation, but surgical correction is most often requested for aesthetic reasons.

The first and the last images of the following animations are "before" and "after" pictures. The transition has been rendered digitally.

Young women should seek information on what is "normal" and not hastily request labial reduction, perhaps out of unwarranted shame.

On the other hand, there is no objective reason to set different standards for labia minora correction than for other aesthetic operations for well-informed, adult women. The most commonly requested shape is for the inner labia to be small and without a local, flaplike extension, so that they do not or only slightly protrude outside the labia majora. On the posterior side they may end into a minimal ridge. The clitoral hood may be proportionally small. This combines best with labia majora that have a full appearance.

The operation requires general anaesthesia or anaesthesia to the lower half of the body (epidural), in a hospital day care setting (no overnight stay).

The thin border of the labia minora is preserved as much as possible.

The absorbable sutures separate spontaneously or they can be removed after about ten days. Some tenderness may persist for a few days to a few weeks. The scar will harden over the first three to six weeks, to get softer again over the course of several months. Sexual intercourse can be resumed after four to six weeks.

Like with any operation complications can never be excluded completely. Infection, hemorrhage or wound dehiscence (separation of wound margins) necessitate further treatment and may lead to an undiserable appearance.