The Lowdown on Labiaplasty

Woman touching a flower

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 minor 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.


Some women are born with enlarged labia, 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:

  • Trauma/injury to the labia
  • Tearing of the labia minora during childbirth
  • Stretching of the labia
  • Hormone abnormalities
  • Male hormone ingestion or shots for body building or for improved libido.

About 30% of labiaplasty procedures are performed due to functional medical reasons  alone, while nearly 40% are performed for aesthetic purposes alone. Many women have a combination of functional and aesthetic reasons for undergoing the procedure.


Performed in operating rooms or occasionally by some doctors in an exam room, 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 Technique 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 20 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.


Surprisingly, the recovery time associated with a wedge labiaplasty is quite minimal as far as surgical procedures go. In most cases, patients can return to work five days after surgery and sexual activities can be resumed in about six weeks. Patients are asked to avoid any strenuous activity for some time after surgery.


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.


It’s 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 orgasmic ability have been associated with this procedure once site has healed completely.

In this day in age, unlike our grandparents’ day 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.

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


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