Labiaplasty is an operation to reduce the size of the labia minora. The labia minora, in the majority of women, does not extend beyond the limits of the larger and protective labia majora although it can be enlarged in some women and extends beyond the labia majora. This can cause physical discomfort due to irritation from undergarments or pain upon activities that would put pressure in this area such as bicycling or horseback riding. In some cases sexual activity may be uncomfortable due to movement of the excess labia or may cause psychological distress if the woman feels that her labia are too large.
Labia minora enlargement is most commonly present at birth but may not become noticeable until puberty. Excess testosterone, chronic irritation, age-related changes and pregnancy may also cause enlargement of the labia.
The labiaplasty operation reduces the size and protrusion of the labia by removing the excess tissue. Most commonly this is done by removing a wedge of excess tissue. This method of labia reduction creates a minimal scar away from the free border and preserves the color. Importantly, this type of labia reduction preserves sensation as much as possible and commonly full sensation is maintained.
Labiaplasty is for women who desire a reduction in the size of their labia minora or who have asymmetrical labia. The labiaplasty is generally an outpatient procedure done under anesthesia. Recovery is generally well tolerated although sexual intercourse must be delayed until complete healing has occurred (about 6 to 8 weeks) This procedure is becoming more popular as knowledge of the potential benefits and social acceptance of the procedure become more widespread.