Labiaplasty (Labia Minor Reduction) London & UK



A labiaplasty is also known as labia minor reduction or labial reduction.  This surgery concerns the fleshy folds of skin within the vulva, known as the labia minora, that fall to the sides of the vaginal opening.  Sometimes they can be a lot larger than they are meant to be, a condition known as labial hypertrophy.  With increasing focus on looks and body parts there is now a large increase in the number of women opting to have surgery to enhance the look of their vaginal area.  There might also be physical reasons for having a labiaplasty. The NHS reported a 70% increase in the number of operations performed on the vulva between 2007 and 2009, making this a fast growing form of surgery and the main age group undertaking labiaplasties are those in their late teens or early twenties.  This indicates that the most common reason for labiaplasty is cosmetic dissatisfaction rather than any medical problem. 

Why have Labiaplasty?

There are several reasons why you might wish to undertake a labiaplasty.  The main problem women have is the look of their vaginal area.  Often the labia are perceived as too big or uneven, this is not seen as desirable.  It can cause serious confidence problems and can affect lifestyle and relationships.  Surgery is seen as a way to stop this and allow you to continue with your life with increased self-esteem.  The size of your labia can also cause problems with infections and soreness as the excess skin can rub against clothes.  This can over time cause a recurring problem and can cause pain and discomfort.  Childbirth can also affect the size of the labia, and post-pregnancy some women wish to have a labiaplasty to correct this, there are also rare hormonal imbalances that enlarge the labia, making them problematic.

What happens during the Labiaplasty Operation?

Before you undergo a labiaplasty you will have to find a qualified surgeon and have a consultation with them to find out if having a labiaplasty is the right course of action for you to take.  It might be that counselling will help with your confidence problems, and that you might not have anything wrong with your labia at all.  It is important to remember that all women are born with variations in the shape and appearance of their labia and vagina, so it might be that you are worrying over nothing.  Your surgeon will be able to make this assessment as well as advise you on the procedure, the risks associated with labial reduction surgery and how best to prepare and recovery from the surgery.  It is important that you listen and follow their advice in order to achieve the best possible results.  The consultation will also give you a chance to voice any concerns that you might have, meet your surgeon and talk through your expectations for the surgery.  You will need to provide your surgeon with a full medical history to ensure that the surgery isn’t too dangerous to perform.

The actual procedure for a labiaplasty only takes about an hour.  The surgery is quite straightforward, and involves cutting the excess skin away from the labia minora, (the inner flap of skin nearest the vaginal opening), using either a scalpel or a laser, and suturing the wound closed using dissolvable stitches.  You will be placed under a general anaesthetic for this procedure, although in some cases a local anaesthetic with additional sedation might be used.  Usually you will be able to leave the clinic or hospital a few hours after the operation, although if there have been any complications or in exceptional circumstances you will need to stay over night.  The anaesthetic will not have worn off completely in this small amount of time, so you will need someone else to pick you up and take you home.  The wounds will be positioned so as to be virtually invisible when healed, running along the lines of the labia and the contours of your vaginal area. 

How do I prepare for Labialplasty

Before having a labiaplasty you will be given information on how best to prepare.  It is likely that you surgeon will ask you to stop smoking if you do so on a regular basis.  This is because it can affect the amount of time it will take you to heal as well as increasing the risk of complications throughout your recovery.  There is likely to be certain medications, vitamins or foods that your surgeon would also like you to avoid before undergoing the surgery.  It is also a good idea to ensure that you will not be menstruating on the date of your operation.  This is something that you will need to take into account. 

Is Labiaplasty Expensive

A labiaplasty within the UK will cost between £1500 and £3000, depending on where you have the surgery and which surgeon performs your operation.  Some labiaplasties are supplied through the NHS, normally these will be for women who have serious physical problems due to the size of their labia, or hormonal problems that have caused the labia to enlarge.  Pregnancy, hormone defects and age can all be factors that change the appearance of your vulva, and the NHS are more likely to give support to women who are experiencing these problems than for people who simply don’t like the appearance of their labia.  Saying that, sometimes psychological reasons can allow you to have a labiaplasty on the NHS, such as depression or real emotional problems.  Abroad the procedure is a lot cheaper, saving you around £1000, however there might be hidden risks and costs that you will also need to take into account.

Is Labiaplasty Safe & how quickly do you heal?

The recovery time for a labial reduction varies from woman to woman.  Usually you will experience pain for the first three days, your surgeon will give you some pain-killers to help you control this.  Your vaginal area will be sore, bruised and swollen for around a week after the surgery, although there are steps that you can take to alleviate the pain such as using ice packs and bathing the area.  After this has eased you will be able to take over the counter medication to help to ease any discomfort that perseveres.  You will need to pay extra attention to the cleanliness of your vaginal area, ensuring that you shower twice a day and wash the area every time you urinate.  A full recovery will take around two months, although most women can return to work within ten days of the surgery.  After approximately six weeks you will be able to engage in penetrative sex and start using tampons again.

Your surgeon will give you advice concerning the aftercare necessary after a labiaplasty.  This will include information on hygiene and how best to keep the wounds clean, pain management and what to be aware of regarding infections or other complications. 

There are risks with any form of surgery, and labiaplasty, although considered relatively safe, is no different.  Along with usual surgical dangers such as reaction to anaesthetic and risks of infection, having a labiaplasty could also result in a lot of bleeding due to the large number of blood vessels within the labia, loss of sensation, tight scars making penetration painful or over-correction of the labia.  All of the risks of the surgery will be discussed with you during your initial consultation, and it is important that you ask any questions that you might have regarding the dangers of surgery. 

Can I combine Labiaplasty with other Surgery?

Labiaplasty can also be performed in conjunction with other forms of surgery such as labiaplasty or a hoodectomy.  Whether or not this is possible will be the decision of your surgeon, but it is often the case that two or more of these procedures are performed at the same time. 

Are there any Alternatives?

Unfortunately there are no real alternatives to having a labiaplasty.  A lot of doctors will try to refer people to a psychologist before allowing them to have surgery a lot of the time there is nothing physically wrong with the size of the labia, and the surgery can be seen as unnecessary other than to ease the worries of the individual.  There are certain actions that you can take to make things a bit more comfortable, such as wearing loose clothing and cotton underwear.  However, there is no other way, other than having a labiaplasty, to reduce the size of your labia. 

Generally the results of labia reduction surgery are satisfactory, and most women who undertake the procedure are pleased with the results and require no further surgery.  The surgery can allow you to regain sexual confidence as well as enhance your sense of self-esteem.  It can also ease any physical discomfort that you may be in due to the size of your labia and allow you to wear tight clothing and engage in sports that previously you might not have been able to do.   


Cause of Labial Hypertrophy»





Labiaplasty in London

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The Hospital Group
31 Weymouth Street
London
W1G 7BT
Tel: 0845 762 6727

Spire Roding Hospital
Roding Lane South
Essex
IG4 5PZ
Tel: 020 8551 1100‎

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