Labia minora reduction surgery, or labiaplasty, is a surgical procedure that consists in the partial removal of that hypertrophic portion of the labia minora that protrudes or exceeds the labia majora. The best technique is the one in which the surgeon is most comfortable and with which he achieves notable and consistent results. The procedure may be combined with a clitoral hood reduction (removal of the skin excess around the clitoris) and labia majora surgery (reduction/augmentation/lifting).
There are different techniques, and they differ by the type of incision in the labia minora:
- Trim / Edge technique: it is indicated in those patients with thick, pigmented labia minora and with uneven and bulging edges. It is performed by means of a longitudinal cut to remove the portion of the pigmented labia minora that exceeds the labia majora.
- De-epithelialization technique (Choi): A de-epithelialization of the central area of both the medial and lateral part of the labium minor is performed. It has the advantage of reducing excess vertical tissue and preserving the sensitive and erectile characteristics of the lip.
- Wedge or “V” (Alter) technique: It can be an excellent option for those patients with thin lips with well-defined borders. It reduces the size and length of the labia minora through a V-shaped incision. According to some authors, the main advantage is that the scar goes unnoticed, but on the other hand, the rate of dehiscence due to tension is higher and it does not achieve the removal of the pigmented border that It is usually one of the main reasons why patients choose the Trim technique.
- Z-plasty technique: The advantage of this technique is that the tension of the suture is reduced and neither the shape nor the colour of the free edge is altered.
Ensure you consider all aspects of a procedure. You can speak to your surgeon about these areas of the surgery in more detail during a consultation.
The procedure typically takes between one to two hours depending on whether it is performed with combined procedures or not.
For better results and more comfort, local anesthesia and light sedation is the rule for this surgery. However, local anesthesia, general anesthesia or pudendal blockage may be chosen.
The patient can leave the surgical facility the same day after recovery from anesthesia.
Poor labiaplasty results can result in excessive shortening of the labia, dehiscence, haematoma, scarring, pain, dyspareunia, and deformity. These complications can be minimised with appropriate patient selection, choice of procedure, and meticulous technique.
The area may be swollen for 4-6 weeks. Return to work is possible after 5-7 days. Sexual activity and sports are allowed after four to six weeks.
With good surgical technique, the results are very satisfying with improved self-esteem and quality of life.