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Medically Reviewed April 2023, by Mr. Bryan Mayou (GMC: 1414396) - founder of the Cadogan Clinic and one of the world's leading plastic surgeons
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to address concerns a patient may have about the size, shape or tone of their labia, the inner and outer folds that sit either side of the vagina. Genetics, ageing and childbirth may all have an impact on the appearance and feel of the labia which can result in self-consciousness, discomfort or pain.
Labiaplasty is surgery to reshape or reduce the size of the labia minora, the small lips of skin on either side of the vaginal opening. Occasionally, the labia majora, the larger outer lips will be reshaped, although this is a less common procedure. Labiaplasty is not the same as a vaginoplasty, which is an operation to tighten the vagina internally. Labiaplasty involves removing the excess tissue with a scalpel and closing the incisions using fine, dissolvable stitches. Labiaplasty can be carried out under general anaesthetic, meaning you are completely asleep during the procedure, or under local anaesthetic, you will be awake and aware of the procedure, but will have no sensation or feeling in the surgical area.
Labiaplasty is usually carried out for aesthetic reasons, although the procedure can also be carried out if a patient has excessively large labia which cause discomfort by rubbing on clothes or when taking part in activities such as exercise and sexual intercourse.Get in touch
Time off work
1 - 2 weeks
After 1 day
After 1 day
4 - 6 weeks
After 4 - 6 weeks
Sleeping on back
1 - 2 weeks
Whilst there is no official definition of what is normal when it comes to the size and shape of the labia many patients find having abnormal labia in regards to the size or the symmetry can cause physical and mental distress.
This often occurs when the appearance of the labia has changed over time, either with the onset of the ageing process or following childbirth, when the labia have become enlarged, stretched or asymmetrical. However, in some cases, genetics play a part and patients are born with labia which don’t suit the proportions of their genitalia.
At Cadogan Clinic, our consultant surgeons will discuss whether you are suitable for Labiaplasty in a bespoke one to one consultation.
Your surgeon will examine your labia and assess the shape and size. They will discuss your medical history to understand the causes of your concerns as well as your expectations of surgery and ensure you understand the results that are possible for you. They will also assess your general physical and mental health to make sure you are suitable for a general or local anaesthetic procedure, this may include your weight, and any medical and mental conditions you have.
Words from our clients:
"I was extremely satisfied with the care and treatment I received at the Cadogan Clinic. My surgeon was friendly and informative and explained the procedure fully. My procedure went very well and with the excellent care of the nursing staff, I made a speedy and full recovery. Would recommend to anyone."Eva Berry
"At the beginning before the operation the nurse taking care of me made me feel so comfortable. The surgeon and anesthetist helped me feel so calm. Fantastic before and after treatment"Scarlett Elliott
"The girls on the reception at the clinic were very pleasant and professional. The nurse who took out my stitches after my surgery was just lovely and took me through step by step what she was doing and she also recommended a great cream to use to help with healing."Georgina Nolan
“I was treated with care and provided with thorough knowledge about the procedure I was undertaking. My surgeon was very methodical (a perfectionist) and I felt I received A class treatment."Courtney O'Sullivan
"Outstanding experience from the first appointment to being discharged. Very professional, friendly and a fantastic outcome."Gemma Stevenson
"Reception staff very welcoming and efficient. Both nurses who I dealt with were fantastic, and the whole team (anaesthetist, surgeon etc) were friendly but professional, and really put my mind at ease. That I was able to stay later than I perhaps needed after my surgery to fit in with my husbands schedule was greatly appreciated."Emma Davies
Labiaplasty cost can depend on many factors. Given the delicate nature of the procedure, you want to be able to proceed with the confidence that you are being treated by the very best surgeons at the very best clinic. The award-winning Cadogan Clinic ensures that you are in safe hands every step of the way.
Included in this treatment
Up to two 60 minute consultations with a leading specialist plastic surgeon at our award-winning premises in Chelsea
Your procedure carried out at London’s leading specialist cosmetic surgery centre of excellence
24/7 on call nurse assistance
Dedicated Patient Co-ordinator, as a personal point of contact through your journey with Cadogan
A pre-operative medical assessment to ensure you are fit for surgery
Comprehensive post-operative aftercare courtesy of our specialist cosmetic nurses
There are a number of labiaplasty techniques, our surgeons employ three of these methods, depending on what will address your concerns most effectively. Each method produces slightly different results.
The 'trim' method
Also known as edge excision, linear, or amputation Labiaplasty, the Trim method is the most commonly used technique. This procedure effectively addresses the common issues of excess length, asymmetry and hyperpigmentation in the labia.
By reducing the size of the labia minora and trimming the excess tissue of bulging or protruding labia, smooth edges are left behind. This method of labiaplasty is most suited to patients who are worried about thick, darkly pigmented, or rough edges on their labia. The desire to have this edge removed is one of the main reasons for seeking Labiaplasty. Once the labia minora has healed from a trim, it will look less prominent and sit within the labia majora more comfortably.
A trim can be combined with other procedures, such as surgery to reduce the labia majora and reducing the clitoral hood by trimming away excess skin, known as a Hoodectomy.
The 'wedge' method
The wedge method, also known as a central v wedge, is a slightly more complex approach to Labiaplasty than the Trim. Although this technique also reduces the size of the labia, the wedge is more concerned with tightening and improving the overall tone of the labia minora.
In this particular method, the surgeon cuts a V-shaped section of tissue away from the centre of the labia known as the ‘wedge’. The two cut edges are then stitched back together, resulting in tightening the whole labia.
The wedge method is highly effective in addressing the common concerns of asymmetry and excess length of the labia. The wedge technique does not alter the labia’s natural contours, meaning the labia minora’s natural wrinkled edge will remain post-surgery. The wedge is suited to anyone who has well-defined labia edges and is not looking to remove these.
The de-epithelialization method
The de-epithelialization method is a relatively recent innovation, having been introduced in 2000. It involves the surgeon making an oval-shaped incision in the inner sections of the labia minora, using a scalpel or a laser. The outer layer of tissue is removed from the labia and the deepest layer of tissue made up mostly of fat cells and connective tissue, is left intact. The two edges are then sutured back together.
De-epithelialization is a highly popular method as this technique maintains the wrinkles and sensations of the labia area. The de-epithelialization method can also be combined with the Wedge technique for an enhanced result. Your consultant will discuss which of these techniques will be best suited to help you reach your goals.
We have invited a selection of the country's very best consultants to join us at the Cadogan Clinic so that you can be sure that whatever the nature of your treatment, you will be seeing one of the top practitioners in the country.
Miss Sujatha Tadiparthi
Mr. Yasser Diab
Mr. Garrick Georgeu
Mr. Hagen Schumacher
Mr. Omar Tillo
Mr. Paul Tulley
Mr. William Van Niekerk
Below you will find some key information to help you prepare for surgery and make necessary arrangements to ensure you have the support you need and that everything runs smoothly on the day.
In advance of making your decision about Labiaplasty, your patient advisor will organise up to 2 consultations with one of our consultant surgeons. These consultations will be up to 60 minutes long and will involve a discussion with your surgeon about your concerns and your desired results. The surgeon will then conduct an examination of your labia, and a general health and wellness check to ensure you are fit to undergo surgery.
Although you will have the opportunity for a second consultation to discuss your surgery further, we recommend writing down any questions you have. Many people find having a surgical consultation quite nerve wracking, especially if they haven’t spoken with a surgeon before, and writing your questions down will help to prepare you and make sure you can ask everything you want to.
After your consultation, your surgeon will send your notes and proposed surgical plan through to your surgical patient advisor. They will explain the plan to you, as well as the price of your procedure and find a suitable surgery date for you. The two weeks following your first consultation are a compulsory cooling off period which will allow you to consider the plan your surgeon has suggested and whether you want to proceed with your Labiaplasty.
02.Leading up to Procedure
If you decide to undergo your Labiaplasty you will be asked to follow these instructions to prepare for your procedure.
03.On the day
You will be sent two emails, one a week before and one a day before your procedure including your arrival time - 1 hour before your surgery is due to start. When you arrive, you will speak with the nurses, your surgeon and anaesthetist, be able to ask any question and will get dressed into a surgical gown and compression socks to prevent blood clots during your surgery and recovery.
When you enter the theatre, if your procedure is being carried out under general anaesthetic, this will be administered by your anaesthetist. All general anaesthetic procedures at Cadogan Clinic are performed using TIVA (Total Intravenous Anaesthesia) because it has a faster recovery time and lower instances of sickness, post-surgery. If you are having local anaesthetic, your surgeon will administer this.
Your surgeon will then carry out the Labiaplasty. You will wake up in our recovery ward, where a nurse will check your blood pressure, heart rate and temperature before you are transferred to our ambulatory ward. You will have something to eat and drink and a few hours to recover, get changed and get ready to leave. Before the nurses call your chaperone, they will explain your aftercare and give you any medication you need for your recovery.
Typically, recovery after Labiaplasty is very quick and you can expect to be fully recovered after 3-4 weeks. You will likely experience some bruising and swelling in the first week. Your surgeon will ask you to avoid sexual activity for up to 6 weeks to avoid disturbing your incisions and to reduce the risk of infection. Only return to sexual activity when you are fully healed and you feel ready.
You will meet with our nurses, one week post surgery so they can make sure you are healing well and review your incisions. Your surgeon will have used dissolvable stitches meaning they do not need to be removed. The nurse will advise you on how to continue to look after your incisions and will answer any questions.
Six weeks after your procedure you will have a follow up appointment with your surgeon. They will discuss your recovery, and results and answer any questions you have. From this point, if you have any questions or concerns, you will still be able to contact the team and speak with one of our specialist nurses.
The Patient Journey. A breakdown of what you can expect on your journey with us
We are deeply invested in ensuring that every step of your surgical journey with us is as informative and reassuring to you as it can be. This article outlines what you can expect at each stage of the journeyThe Patient Journey
What is a labia?
The labia are the folds of skin that surround the vulva, the outer part of the female genitals. The labia majora are the outer lips and the labia minora are the inner lips.
Labia come in all different sizes and shapes. The size, shape and symmetry of labia can easily be amended by swift and highly effective labial reduction surgery in the hands of a qualified plastic and reconstructive surgeon.
Labial reduction surgery is particularly effective in instances where a woman suffers from excessively large labia. The cosmetic appearance of large labia can make women feel self conscious and unhappy with the appearance of a very sensitive area of their body.
These large labia can swiftly be reduced in size via straightforward labial reduction surgery.
What are the issues with excessively large labia?
The primary issue with large labia is typically psychological, with large labia the cause of embarrassment and even significant psychological distress.
It is also true that large labia can cause some functional issues as well. Excessively large labia can chafe on clothing, and cause discomfort when wearing certain items of clothing, such as swimming costumes. Large labia can also impact the enjoyment and comfort of sexual intercourse and exercise, such as cycling or horse riding.
A labiaplasty can help to alleviate this discomfort and allow a woman to live her life free of the restraints caused by a large labia.
Am I suitable for a labiaplasty?
The surgeon will carry out a thorough consultation to assess your suitability for a labiaplasty.
Women who are concerned about the shape, size, or symmetry of their labia, or if their labia is causing them discomfort which is impacting on their day-to-day lives, then they are suitable for labia reduction surgery.
The surgeon must also determine that you are physically and psychologically fit and healthy and have realistic expectations of what can be achieved by labia surgery. All of these criteria must be met before proceeding.
What happens during a labiaplasty procedure?
A labiaplasty can be carried out using either a general anaesthetic or a local anaesthetic. If a local anaesthetic is opted for, it can be performed with or without sedation. The procedure involves reshaping or reducing the labia using one of several different techniques. These include trimming of the edges or removal of a section of each labium, for instance in the shape of a wedge. The specific technique will have been discussed with you in detail at the time of your consultation. The wounds are the stitched up with fine dissolvable stitches. The whole procedure takes about one to two hours and a patient is able to go home the same day, regardless of the type of anaesthetic used.
How long will I need to recover from a labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is not a particularly painful procedure, and patients are encouraged to be up and about straight away, although we suggest you take one or two weeks off work immediately after surgery. Most of the swelling usually settles in the first few days or early weeks.
Some residual swelling may persist for months, but this does not normally interfere with day to day activities. Sexual activity and exercise, including going to the gym, should be avoided until four to six weeks post-surgery. Most patients will have returned to all normal activities by this time.
Your surgeon will discuss the aftercare plan with you in greater detail.
How much time off will I need after a labiaplasty?
Following labial surgery, patients are advised to take a few days off work with the option of a full week if required, with a view of returning to normal day-to-day activities after about one week. Swelling is greatest during the first few days and the treated areas can be quite uncomfortable with excessive movement. Although it is advisable for patients to mobilise as soon as is comfortable following surgery, they should be sensitive to their body and not to do too much too soon.
Is labial reduction surgery the same as a ‘designer vagina’?
Labial reduction surgery is not quite the same as ‘designer vagina’ surgery.
The phrase ‘designer vagina’ surgery refers collectively to the full spectrum of cosmetic gynaecological surgeries that include labial reduction surgery (labiaplasty), vaginal tightening surgery (vaginoplasty), and other vaginal rejuvenation procedures.
‘Designer vagina’ surgery is the colloquial term to describe any or all of these procedures as a standalone, or as a group when performed together.
There is much media focus on the questions of ‘what is a designer vagina?’ or ‘should I get a designer vagina?’. We typically find it more instructive to refer to the more specific technical terms for the various procedures in question than the colloquial media phraseology of ‘designer vagina.’
Is a labiaplasty procedure painful?
Most patients opt for general anaesthetic when undergoing a labiaplasty, so they are completely asleep and don’t feel any pain during the procedure. Your surgeon and anaesthetist will provide any medication to control any pain and discomfort you experience after the procedure. Patients may find going to the toilet and sitting down uncomfortable in the days following labiaplasty. Discomfort is usually the result of swelling which tends to subside within 5-7 days. It is perfectly normal to have soreness, swelling or bruising in the labial area for up to two weeks after surgery.
Will I need stitches after labiaplasty?
Yes, you will require stitches when undergoing labia reduction surgery.
Surgeons will use dissolvable sutures which are gone by three or four weeks post-surgery.
Because of the natural folds and wrinkles in this particular part of the body, the scars are well hidden, blending in with the labia minora tissue.
After the stitches dissolve away, the scar tissue will become firm. This will soften over the course of the following months. To aid the scarring process, it is important to carefully follow all aftercare instructions issued by your surgeon.
How soon will I see results and are they permanent?
Everyone is different and will heal at a different pace, but you can expect to see the results of your labiaplasty from around two weeks. The final results of labia reduction surgery can take several months to appear.
Labiaplasty results are permanent. Subsequent pregnancies and childbirth will not stretch the labia, which will keep its new size.
Labia reduction surgery will not affect pregnancy, the ability to get pregnant or sexual satisfaction.
Are there risks are associated with labiaplasty surgery?
Labiaplasty is a safe surgery with minimal risk attached. However on rare occasions, patients may experience one of the following after labia reduction:
As with all surgery, there is always the risk of the following complications:
We would like to stress that these complications are very rare. Your surgeon will discuss the risks with you at your consultation and answer any questions you may have about the procedure, including the potential for complications.
Am I able to go home the same day as labiaplasty surgery?
Certainly. This is a self-contained local procedure, which should not affect you generally. It can be done under Local Anaesthesia or the Cadogan Clinic form of light General Anaesthesia called TIVA (Total IntraVenous Anaesthesia) and always as a Day Case. You will wake up instantly and not be nauseated. Set aside half a day. Simple painkillers will suffice.
Maybe work from home the next day or two. Avoid significant exercise for 2 – 3 weeks and sexual activity for a bit longer.
How should I prepare for a labiaplasty surgery?
During the initial consultation, the surgeon will advise patients to stop smoking and will review any medication they may be taking. The surgeon will also provide patients with all information needed to ensure they are fully prepared for the procedure.
Is labia reduction possible without surgery?
There are a number of different treatments which purport to reduce the size of the labia without surgery. These methods include non-surgical radiofrequency technology. The results vary and are not permanent. If you are looking for a guaranteed way to reduce the size of your labia permanently, then surgery is the only way to achieve this.
There are creams, home remedies and exercises which claim to reduce labia size. These do not work and we would recommend that you don’t waste your time or money on treatments for which there is very little, if any, scientific proof of their effectiveness.
How to choose the best labiaplasty surgeon
It is important to find a reputable surgeon who is experienced and qualified to carry out your labiaplasty.
A good surgeon should be able to explain the procedure in great depth, including the different labia surgery techniques - the trim, wedge and de-epithelialization methods - and advise which would best meet your needs. The surgeon should also be honest about any potential risks or complications, possible outcomes and help you to manage your expectations.
At your initial consultation, the surgeon should also be able to talk you through the recovery process, including how to manage pain and help the healing process.
You should check that the surgeon is a specialist in labiaplasty and when you have your initial consultation, make sure the surgeon has an extensive portfolio of labiaplasty before and after photographs that they can share with you so you can get a good idea of how the results of your surgery will look. Be sure to check out testimonials from previous patients.
A good labiaplasty surgeon will always put the patient’s mental and physical wellbeing ahead of everything else. If you are not physically and psychologically fit and healthy, an ethical surgeon will not attempt to perform the procedure.
Only registered doctors can perform cosmetic surgery in England. You can check if a surgeon is a registered doctor or surgeon on the General Medical Council (GMC) online register.
Some surgeons may be members of professional associations, such as the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) or the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS). However there are some qualified surgeons who are experts in their field but choose not to sign up to a trade body for their own reasons.
Founded in 2004 by world renowned plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, we now work with over 100 leading consultants and successfully treat over 20,000 patients each year. We have been winning industry awards since inception.About Us
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All of our treatments take place at our beautiful boutique premises in Chelsea. We have six consulting rooms and five operating rooms, as well as a dedicated pre and post-operative suite, and a full team of specialist nursing staff.Our Clinic
A Strong Tradition of Innovation
We were founded in 2004 by world renown plastic surgeon Mr Bryan Mayou, best known for his pioneering work in the area of liposuction, lasers and microvascular surgery. We continue to collaborate with pioneers in our field.Our History
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We offer surgical consultations in London, Birmingham, Chelmsford and Bristol, and attract international patients from all corners of the globe such as as the USA, the Middle East and Europe.Get in Touch
Before opting for a Labiaplasty or any cosmetic surgery, it is vital to be aware of the potential risks and complications. Although Labiaplasty results in a higher quality of life and reduces self-consciousness, there are risks that you need to consider and discuss with your surgeon.
In the event of an unforeseen complication or less than optimal outcome, you may need a secondary surgery. This can occur due to factors beyond the surgeon’s control. Our skilled consultant surgeons are qualified professionals who have performed Labiaplasty numerous times.
Your surgeon will also explain in your consultation that all surgical procedures carry a slight risk of:
Your surgeon will assess your personal risk for all of these factors alongside your general health and suitability for surgery. They will explain how these risks would be in the event they occur, and any steps you can take to reduce the risk of their occurrence.
We believe in the delivery of excellent outcomes and results, and exceptional levels of service. Our outcomes are natural and long-lasting, and we remain the premier choice for cosmetic surgery treatments in the UK.
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