LABIA MINORA (INNER LIPS) REDUCTION:
THE ALTER LABIA CONTOURING PROCEDURE: THE NEW LABIAPLASTY:
Labiaplasty / Labioplasty is a procedure performed on women who dislike the large size of their labia minora, which may cause embarrassment with a sexual partner or discomfort in tight pants, with sports, or during sexual intercourse. Some women are born with enlarged labia, whereas others develop the enlargement with age or from childbirth. Occasionally, a woman is self-conscious of her labia since childhood. A labia reduction (labiaplasty) procedure can be performed to reduce the labia minora.
Traditionally, gynecologists and plastic surgeons perform labia minora reduction (labia reduction or labiaplasty or labioplasty) by excising the protuberant labia minora and over sewing the raw edge. This old fashioned labia reduction (labiaplasty) technique is not ideal since the natural contour and color of labia minora edge are eliminated. The labial edge is replaced in most instances by an irregular scar line of more lightly colored inner labial tissue. The advantages of a quicker procedure with lighter colored labial edges are outweighed by the disadvantages of a higher incidence of asymmetry, common scalloping with irregular edges, over-removal of labia, and chronic discomfort.
Over twenty years ago, Dr. Alter developed a new technique of labia minora reduction (labiaplasty) called the “Alter labia contouring” procedure “the new labiaplasty”, which preserves the normal contour, color, and anatomy of the labia minora edge. It is more commonly called the central wedge labiaplasty. The protuberant labium is excised in a “V” manner and the upper and lower edges are sutured together. Therefore, the only suture line visible on the edge is a small transverse line instead of a longitudinal vertical suture line. This results in normal labia minora in which surgery is essentially undetectable. Excess skin on the sides of the clitoral hood can also be removed without visible scars. Several modifications of labiaplasty have also been made that have not yet been published. The advantages of the wedge labiaplasty are a preservation of normal anatomy with normal labial edges (even though the darkest portions of the labia are usually removed), a higher incidence of symmetry, difficulty in over-resection, and less chance of chronic discomfort.
About the Labiaplasty / Labioplasty Surgery
The labia minora reduction surgery (labiaplasty or labioplasty) is relatively minor and is not very uncomfortable. The labia reduction surgery usually takes about 2 hours and is performed with magnification to assure an accurate approximation of the normal labial edges. In contrast, the trim technique often takes 15-45 minutes and results in a scar line replacing the normal labial edge. That scar can cause chronic discomfort and disfigurement.
The labiaplasty / labioplasty surgery is performed in a fully accredited surgical center. General anesthesia is usually used, but sedation with local anesthesia is possible. The complication rate from labiaplasty is extremely low. If you have a relatively sedate job, you can probably return to work in 5 days. If you travel here, I will see you on the day before surgery, and you should plan on staying in the area for about 2-3 days after the operation. You can resume sexual relations in about 6 weeks after a labia reduction. None of my patients have complained of any loss of sensation or any decline in the ability to have orgasms.
Insurance may cover the labiaplasty (labioplasty)surgery if you have any discomfort. We are happy to assist you in obtaining preauthorization.
If you have any questions about labia reduction, labia minora reduction, or labiaplasty (labioplasty) please feel free to contact Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Gary Alter at his Manhattan, New York or Beverly Hills, California plastic surgery office.