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Some women are born with enlarged labia, whereas others develop the enlargement due to childbirth, hormonal changes, or age. Enlarged labia minora can cause discomfort in tight clothing, during physical activities, and with sexual intercourse. Many women are very self-conscious with their labial appearance, as large labia can cause loss of self-esteem and lack of intimacy.
What Is Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty (labioplasty) or labia minora reduction is a procedure that reduces the size of the labia minora.
Am I a Good Candidate for Labiaplasty?
You may be a good candidate for labiaplasty if the size of your labia minora gets in the way of you living a happy, comfortable life. Candidates for labiaplasty are women unhappy with the appearance of and experience pain and discomfort with their labia.
If you are in generally good health, have realistic expectations of your results, and do not smoke, labiaplasty may be right for you.
Please schedule a consultation with Dr. Alter to determine if you will benefit from the procedure.
How Is Labiaplasty Performed?
Traditionally, gynecologists and plastic surgeons perform labia minora reduction by trimming the protuberant labia minora and stitching along the excised edge. This procedure is the same whether performed with a scalpel, scissors, laser, or radiofrequency device. It is less than ideal since the natural contour and color of labia minora edges are eliminated. The labial edge is replaced in most instances by an irregular scar line of more lightly colored inner labial tissue.
It is very difficult to achieve symmetry, avoid scallops, prevent unsightly scars, and make a normal transition from the upper labium to the clitoral frenulum and clitoral hood with this procedure. In fact, many cases of inadvertent over-resection and even amputation of the labia minora result from the trim technique. It has also been associated with a higher incidence of chronic discomfort along the scar line. The advantages of the trim are that it takes less time and can achieve a lighter labial edge.
What Technique Does Dr. Alter Use When Performing Labiaplasty?
Twenty-five years ago, Dr. Alter developed a new technique of labia minora reduction called the “Alter labia contouring” procedure. Most commonly referred to as the “central wedge” or “V” labiaplasty, this advanced technique preserves the normal contour, color, and anatomy of the labia minora edge. He published the seminal article on his technique in the prestigious plastic surgical journal, “Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2008.
During the procedure, the most protuberant portion of the labium is excised in a “V” or “pie-slice” manner, which disconnects the upper and lower labium. The labium is then repaired by suturing these edges together in a four-layer closure. This results in normal labia minora appearance with only a small, rarely visible transverse scar across the edge normal labia minora appearance. Also, unlike the posterior wedge labiaplasty favored by some surgeons, the thickest and protuberant portion of the labium is removed. Excess skin on the sides of the clitoral hood can also be reduced without visible scars.
What Type of Anesthesia Is Used During Labiaplasty?
For your comfort, labiaplasty is performed using local or general anesthesia. It can also be performed under intravenous sedation. Because of this, you should not feel any pain during the surgery,
What Are the Risks of the Wedge Labiaplasty?
The disadvantage of the Alter wedge labiaplasty is a small chance of a minor wound opening, a longer operating time, and a greater surgical skill required. In untrained or cavalier surgeons, large disruptions in the suture line can occur, giving the procedure a bad reputation. However, this is very rare if done by a skilled, meticulous surgeon.
The advantage of the wedge labiaplasty is the preservation of normal anatomy with normal labial edges (the darkest portions of the labia are usually removed), a higher incidence of symmetry, less chance to over-resect labia tissue, a lower incidence of chronic discomfort, and less post-operative pain.
How Long Does a Labiaplasty Take?
The length of your labiaplasty will vary depending on the amount of correction needed and specific surgical techniques used. Generally, the surgery takes one to two hours to complete.
What Is the Recovery Process Like After Labiaplasty?
The recovery after the Alter wedge labiaplasty will vary between patients. However, most women can return to work and other obligations within a few days.
You should wear loose clothing and protect your surgical site for a few weeks, but no additional care is required. Sex should be avoided for at least six weeks.
Will I Be Left With Significant Scarring After Labiaplasty?
Dr. Alter understands the importance of hiding your scars. The trim method often results in long, painful scars, leaving women in need of labiaplasty revision. However, the wedge method makes the incisions in inconspicuous areas so they will be almost invisible.
Dr. Alter and the entire team are dedicated to providing every patient with exceptional individualized care—from consultation to recovery. We take the time to learn about your concerns, goals, and desires, so we can build a plan that addresses your concerns and gets you the
results you deserve.
Thoughts & Insights
I knew I was going to experience pain post-op, but something just didn’t feel right. I had no clue as to how much my world was about to change.
Labias, Ladies! Get in your comfy pants, pull up a chair, get cozy and let’s dive deep into the world of labia. First and foremost, the basics!
Do you find yourself suffering from chronic pain, chronic open wounds, erectile dysfunction or female genital discomfort? The latest in shockwave therapy can help eliminate or reduce your pain significantly—no invasive surgery required.