A surgical procedure often performed for medical or cosmetic reasons to reduce the size or change the shape of the labia minora, the smaller, inner “lips” surrounding the vaginal opening.
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure designed to reduce the size of the labia minora. The terminology around this can be a little confusing. In essence, the vulva is the area between the pubic hair and the anus. It is bounded on either side by the outer lips (labia majora). Inside the labia majora are the inner lips (labia minora). The clitoris is at the top of the labia minora and the vaginal opening sits between them.
The labia minora can become enlarged for a variety of reasons, including childbirth, ageing and genetics. It is important to realise that no two vulvas are the same. The vaginal lips are often asymmetrical and opinions on what the perceived ideal is will vary greatly from woman to woman.
The decision to have surgery is a very personal one, which Dr Collins is sensitive to. It involves removing the excess tissue present and reshaping the labia minora, so that they are carefully tucked within the confines of the labia majora, resulting in a more concealed appearance.
Not at all. Every woman’s vulva is unique. There is a considerably wide range for what is considered normal. Women with enlarged labia may experience difficultly with exercise, personal hygiene, tight-fitting clothing, sexual activity and urinary tract infections. In others, whilst no functional issues may exist, an excess of tissue in this area can lead to considerable self-consciousness and emotional distress.
A labiaplasty is usually performed under general anaesthetic on a day case basis. The goal is to give your vulva a smooth, clamshell-like appearance. In some cases, the procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic in Dr Collins’ private clinic. You will be given oral antibiotics to take for two days before the surgery and should continue these for a week afterwards, in addition to using a topical antibiotic ointment.
Dr Collins will ensure you have adequate pain relief to deal with any discomfort you may experience post-operatively. Ice packs and anti-inflammatory medications are useful to reduce pain and swelling. Meticulous perineal hygiene is essential. You should avoid sexual activity and baths for between 40 to 60 days. Your return to work will be determined by the type of job that you do. If your job is primarily desk-based, you can usually return to work after 1-2 weeks. If your job is more physically demanding, you may require additional leave.
After your consultation, Dr Collins will provide you with an estimate which will include hospital and anaesthetic costs in addition to the surgical fee. A labiaplasty under general anaesthetic will cost in the range of $8,500 to $12,500. If you are suitable to have the procedure done under local anaesthetic, the cost will be between $3,000 and $3,500.