The Lowdown On Labiaplasty

a group of women

Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of the labia minora (the inner lips of the vagina) and improves the overall appearance of the vagina. For some women, an enlarged labia minora causes discomfort while playing sports, wearing tight clothing, and even during sex. Reducing the size of their labia minora goes a long way to relieve these issues with little risk or downtime.

Labiaplasty…who’s It For?

Some women are born with enlarged labia minora, while others may develop the enlargement with age or after childbirth. Many other women simply want to improve the appearance of their genitals.

Medical conditions that may contribute to abnormalities of the labia are:

  • Congenital enlargement
  • Aging
  • Pregnancy
  • Hormone abnormalities including polycystic ovaries
  • Testosterone and bio-identical hormones
  • Trauma/injury to the labia
  • Tearing of the labia minora during childbirth
  • Stretching of the labia

FACTOID: About 20% of labiaplasty procedures are performed solely due to functional medical reasons, while nearly 40% are performed solely for aesthetic purposes. Most women have a labiaplasty to treat a combination of aesthetic and functional reasons.

The Procedure

Performed at accredited hospitals and plastic surgery centers, the labiaplasty procedure can take up to several hours to perform. Local or general anesthesia is administered and is dependent on whether other alterations are being made during the course of the labiaplasty.

There are several different techniques that can be used in labiaplasty. The two most common are the Trim and the Central Wedge Technique.

The Trim Technique is the original labia reconstruction technique. It effectively consists of a trimming of the excess tissue and results in a scar line replacing the labial edge. The scar can lead to chronic discomfort and an unnatural look.

The Central Wedge Technique was invented over 25 years ago by Dr. Alter who was eager to provide women with a solution that preserved the normal contour, color, and anatomy of the labia minora edge. With his innovative technique, a wedge of tissue is removed from the thickest part of the excess labia and then stitched back together. This allows for a more natural contour than the trim technique.

What’s The Recovery Like?

Surprisingly, the recovery time associated with the Alter wedge labiaplasty is usually quite minimal as far as surgical procedures go, but only if performed meticulously. In most cases, patients can return to work 4-5 days after surgery, exercise in 3-4 weeks,  and resume sexual activities in about six weeks.

What Results Can Be Expected?

A 2014 study found that more than 91% of women who had the surgery felt more satisfied with their genital appearance afterward.1 Some patients have noted marked improvement in function and less friction and irritation during physical and sexual activities. Many other patients have noted an increase in sexual satisfaction.

The Side Effects

It is normal for patients to experience soreness, bruising, and swelling in the area for up to two weeks post-op. No loss of sensation or decline in ability have been associated with the “ Alter wedge”  procedure once the site has healed completely.

In this day in age, unlike our grandparents or our parents for that matter, women are starting to speak up and seek out solutions for issues related to vaginal function and sexual wellness. Labiaplasty provides women with an opportunity to improve or restore what’s been lost and enjoy sexual activity longer than previous generations.

Want to learn more about labiaplasty and how it can improve your sexual wellness? Contact Dr. Alter today for a consultation!


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