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Labia Reduction Surgery

Dr. Kyle R. Wanzel
H.B.Sc., M.D., M.Ed., F.R.C.S.C.


Excessive or uneven development of a woman’s labia minora (the “inner lips” of the female genitalia) can be a great source of embarrassment, functional hygiene problems and even discomfort in some women. 

Enlarged or hypertrophic labia can result in local irritation, problems of personal hygiene during menses or after bowel movements, interference with sexual intercourse, and discomfort during cycling, walking, or sitting. In addition, excessively large labia minora or an uneven development between the two sides can cause significant embarrassment.

As our plastic surgical techniques to correct these problems have improved over time, aesthetic surgery of the female genitalia has become an increasingly common procedure performed by plastic surgeons. 

Labium minora reduction (or “labiaplasty”) has been most commonly performed by simple and straight amputation of the protuberant segment and oversewing the edge. However, with this technique, the labial edge is replaced by a fragile and stiff suture line that is too often associated with local irritation and even discomfort while walking or during intercourse. Moreover, because the inner mucosa of the vagina is very different in colour, texture and lubrication when compared to the outer skin of the labia, this technique removes the natural contour of the labia minora and replaces it with a straight suture line which results in an obviously operated look.

Recently, to prevent such an unfavorable outcome, increased attention has been focused on the cosmetic results and surgical techniques for labia minora reduction. More modern techniques involve removing a central wedge of protuberant tissue (like a “piece of pie”). This results in a barely visible and short horizontal scar and does not interfere with the delicate transition from inner vaginal mocusa to outer labial skin.

This procedure is performed on an outpatient basis (i.e., day surgery) and is most commonly performed under a local anesthetic (although the option for a general anesthetic is available). It commonly takes less than an hour and the recovery from this surgery to regular activities is within a few days (but one must refrain from sexual intercourse for at least six weeks).