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Labiaplasty Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

1. There are surgeons that take away the extra tissue, leaving scars along the labia. Does this leave scarring and will it be noticeable? Is there a special technique that will not leave a scar?

2. Would you recommend a woman who plans to have children to have labiaplasty?

3. What anesthesia is used in labiaplasty?

4. How many office visits are required?

5. Do you advise having this surgery early if a need is present, or should a woman wait until she is older?

6. Does a roughness along the edge of the labia appear after the surgery?

7. Will a sex partner be able to feel or see a difference after my surgery?

8. Does labiaplasty cause a lack in sensitivity to the area?

9. Does this surgery affect the skin surrounding the clitoris?

10. Is the unhooding of a clitoris as complicated as labiaplasty? Should I consider undergoing this procedure?

11. My daughter is 15 years old and has a labia minora that is enlarged. It is becoming difficult for her emotionally now that she is getting older, and she wants surgery to normalize the labia. The gynecologist can do this procedure. Is there a difference between doing this surgery at the gynecologist’s office versus going to a person who is a specialist?

12. Can my asymmetrical labia be changed to look like the opposite side? Is the price different from a regular labiaplasty?

13. Can the use of a vibrator cause an enlarged labia?

14. Is it true that women who have had labiaplasty might have problems becoming sexually aroused for the rest of their life?

15. Can fat be injected to the areas surrounding the vagina?

16. Is a surgery available to make the clitoris bigger or to expose it more for increased sensitivity?

17. If stitches that dissolve are used during these procedures, how long does it take for them to dissolve?

18. Tissue protrudes from my vagina, which makes me look manly in tight clothing and underwear. I heard that this is the mons pubis. Can this area be removed with liposuction?

19. What amount of time is needed before I can begin horse riding after this procedure?

20. How many consultations are necessary before surgery?

21. Do I need to schedule my surgery well in advance?

22. How much recovery time after surgery is needed before I can have sex?

23. What is a normal size for labia?

24. Can labiaplasty be done at the same time as vaginoplasty? Will it save me money to have them done together?

25. Is it possible to send pictures and have a consultation over the phone before meeting in person for the consultation before the operation?

26. Is it better to have labiaplasty with a laser or with a scalpel?

27. Can you tell me what the differences are in the methods used for labiaplasty, such as Iris scissors and laser? Are there differences in results and procedure?


1. There are surgeons that take away the extra tissue, leaving scars along the labia. Does this leave scarring and will it be noticeable? Is there a special technique that will not leave a scar?

There is no such thing as a technique that does not scar. There is a technique that cuts a triangle on the back of the labia, near the middle. The tissue is pulled back to create a smaller labia. This procedure takes 20 minutes, and is considered scarless because the inside of the labia is usually not viewed by others.

During surgery a doctor usually opens an area horizontally and then closes it vertically to make the area tighter. In this so-called scarless method, the triangle point is cut near the wide part of the labia and the tissue gets pulled in. However, this technique does not address dark tissue, labia thickness, or uneven edges. This procedure only draws the tissue in, but it remains visible after surgery. This typically results in a smaller labia, but the tissue is still thick, dark, and uneven. Because the tissue is now together into a smaller area, it may appear worse than it did before.

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2. Would you recommend a woman who plans to have children to have labiaplasty?

Yes. If large labia is bothering you, emotionally or physically, you should not have to live with this pain. There is no need to wait. After surgery, you will look better and feel better.

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3. What anesthesia is used in labiaplasty?

Local anesthesia, level 2 IV sedation, and level 3 general anesthesia can be used for this surgery. The preferred anesthetic is through the IV because it results in immediate recovery, and there is usually an abscense of the typical side effects of general anesthesia, such as vomiting, nausea, drowsiness, and endotrachia effects.

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4. How many office visits are required?

Only one trip is required. Patients are encouraged to schedule an exam 4 to 6 weeks after the surgery, but we understand that this is not always possible. For those who cannot schedule a follow up, a photograph of the area can be sent in. Pre-op blood work and tests are done one day prior to surgery. Most of our patients are not within our region, and our expert staff can assist in travel plans.

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5. Do you advise having this surgery early if a need is present, or should a woman wait until she is older?

In most cases, it is best to undergo labiaplasty when it is needed. There is no reason to live with the emotional and physical pain an enlarged labia can cause.

Less than six years ago, most people did not know about labiaplasty. Today young girls and their parents are more aware of this condition, and many people are taking advantage of the procedures available to remedy these conditions. More young women are active physically and know that there is an easy and quick procedure that can correct their problem, which is why they are having labiaplasty while they are young. There is no medical reason a labiaplasty should be delayed. It is up to the young woman to decide if she should have this minimal surgery. If there is a physical issue with the labia (e.g., asymmetric or large), this surgery can correct the problem, which results in improved self-esteem.

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6. Does a roughness along the edge of the labia appear after the surgery?

The technique we use results in a natural appearance and feel without sensastion loss.

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7. Will a sex partner be able to feel or see a difference after my surgery?

Whether or not a change is felt after labiaplasty is dependent on the abnormality of the labia before surgery. If the labia tissue interferes with sex, a difference will be noticeable to your sexual partner after surgery because the tissue will not interfere with sex as before.

Additionally, the labia structure will look smaller and will be aligned better, and your partner will be able to see this improvement.

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8. Does labiaplasty cause a lack in sensitivity to the area?

The clitoris funtions as the point of pleasure, not the labia. The labia is able to produce pain if it tears or is stretched. However, labiaplasty will not result in any sensitivity loss if it is performed correctly.

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9. Does this surgery affect the skin surrounding the clitoris?

For most patients, no. But for a woman with a labia that is excessively big, the skin surrounding the clitoris is minimized because of the tissue retraction during surgery. This might cause an increase in the sensation of the clitoris during sex.

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10. Is the unhooding of a clitoris as complicated as labiaplasty? Should I consider undergoing this procedure?

A hoodectomy is the female equivalent of circumsision. The tissue that covers the clitoris is reduced. There are surgeons who will not perform this operation because the innervation of the clitoris is much higher there than in the areas surrounding it. Therefore, if the procedure is not done right, the unhooding might result in greater sensation felt by the node during regular movments, and can cause a great deal of discomfort. If this surgery is performed correctly, usually by someone who does this regularly, it can lead to an increase in the stimulation felt by the clitoris, and patients frequently report having better orgasms. Those surgeons that do this surgery regularly determine the level of sensitivity by testing the clitoris with warm and cold swabs. It is important that patients only have this surgery done by a very experienced surgeon who has done many successful unhoodings.

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11. My daughter is 15 years old and has a labia minora that is enlarged. It is becoming difficult for her emotionally now that she is getting older, and she wants surgery to normalize the labia. The gynecologist can do this procedure. Is there a difference between doing this surgery at the gynecologist’s office versus going to a person who is a specialist?

For labiaplasty, it is very important for young women and parents to look for a physician that has done hundreds of these procedures. Cutting tissue without considering symmetry or retraction of the tissue after it heals can produce terrible results. This tissue can usually not be replaced after it is removed. A gynecologist has training in gynecological physiology and anatomy, but vaginoplasty or labiaplasty are areas that are not typically covered in medical school. We highly advise undergoing treatment with a doctor that has perfomed many vaginoplasty of labiaplasty procedures.

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12. Can my asymmetrical labia be changed to look like the opposite side? Is the price different from a regular labiaplasty?

The anatomy of people is usually symmetrical, such as limbs, ears, eyes, and labia. The labia commonly develops asymmetrically, and it is very difficult to match the sides because there are color, thickness, and rugation (uneven edges) differences. It is important to have a procedure that produces a symmetrical labia rather than to save a little bit of money and have an unsatisfactory result. We do offer several way of financing the procedure, so that you can have a successful result.

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13. Can the use of a vibrator cause an enlarged labia?

No. An asymmetrical or large labia happens because that is the way the body developed naturally and is not a result of using vibrators. A vibrator sexually stimulates the clitoris, but does not produce pleasurable stimulation in the labia. When it comes to sexual arousal, the labia minora is not involved.

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14. Is it true that women who have had labiaplasty might have problems becoming sexually aroused for the rest of their life?

No. The news media sometimes misinterprets medical studies, causing false rumors like this to spread for the sake of sensationalism or controversy. The medical truth is that the labia’s nerves only produce a pain sensation if torn or stretched, but it does not produce sexual sensations.

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15. Can fat be injected to the areas surrounding the vagina?

This is called free fat transfer (FFT) and is possible. There have been successful surgeries using this method. However, the way fat that is transplanted acts varies in patients, and a successful result is usually because of proper technique. Therefore, substantial evidence shows that, in most cases, it is possible for the fat to absorbe back into the body, leaving the area the same as before.

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16. Is a surgery available to make the clitoris bigger or to expose it more for increased sensitivity?

The clitoris cannot be made larger, and size in this case does not have anything to do with the level of sensitivity.

Yet, sexual arousal in the clitoris can increase through a hoodectomy, which removes extra tissue from the area and leads to greater sensitivity. This is an extremely delicate procedure that should be done by a doctor who has a well-developed method for figuring out the sensitivity of the clitoral node and who has an extensive record of success performing this operation.

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17. If stitches that dissolve are used during these procedures, how long does it take for them to dissolve?

To allow the tissue to recover in a natural way, the only kind of stitches used in labiaplasty are those that dissolve. These usually dissolve within 7 to 21 days, depending on the type used.

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18. Tissue protrudes from my vagina, which makes me look manly in tight clothing and underwear. I heard that this is the mons pubis. Can this area be removed with liposuction?

The body mass of the mons pubis can increase with age. While liposuction can be used, quite often there are undesireable and varying results. This is because fatty tissue in the lower abdomen appears in an abundant amount, leading to complications.

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19. What amount of time is needed before I can begin horse riding after this procedure?

A minimum of three weeks is the recommended amount of time, but this can vary based on the level of surgery and the instensity of the horse riding.

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20. How many consultations are necessary before surgery?

For women outside our region, most travel down the day before the surgery so that a complete physical can be done. Fluid samples are also taken for analysis at this time. After reviewing consent and presurgery forms, photographs are taken and customized to create the desired look.

We have agreements with many hotels in the area, and patients usually stay in one of these, with the surgery scheduled for the next morning.

The morning after your surgery, you will have a consultation with the surgeon. Following labiaplasty, a woman can go back to work and other daily activities within 3 to 4 days. If a vaginoplasty and labiaplasty are performed at the same time, the recommended recovery time is 6 to 7 days. A post-op visit is recommended about 6 weeks about surgery, but we understand that this might not be possible. The alternative is for the patient to send a photograph and have their follow up via phone. Patients should refrain from using tampons, wearing tight underwear (e.g., thongs) and engaging in sex for 6 weeks after surgery to allow for normal healing. It usually takes 3 months for the area to be completely healed.

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21. Do I need to schedule my surgery well in advance?

Usually, an advance notice of 3 days is needed to schedule the presurgery consultation and surgery. Patients can also schedule surgery up to one month in advance.

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22. How much recovery time after surgery is needed before I can have sex?

The surgeon discusses this with each patient. Although it depends on factors such as level of surgery and age, sex can resume within 8 weeks.

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23. What is a normal size for a labia?

This depends on you and your self-esteem. An asymmetrical or large labia may not be a problem for some women. Labiaplasty allows you to chose the shape and size you want your labia to be, should you want to change the way it looks now.

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24. Can labiaplasty be done at the same time as vaginoplasty? Will it save me money to have them done together?

This combination surgery, which involves beautification and reduction through labiaplasty and tightening and rejuvenation through vaginoplasty, costs less than having them done individually.

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25. Is it possible to send pictures and have a consultation over the phone before meeting in person for the consultation before the operation?

Since most of the patients we treat are from outside the state, our surgeons have detailed e-mail and phone consults before scheduling a surgery. This requires reviewing photos of the patient before having a consultation in person.

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26. Is it better to have labiaplasty with a laser or with a scalpel?

The instrument used depends on the preference of the surgeon. Lasers, scalpels, and Iris scissors can be used. The laser makes good straight cuts, but the Iris scissor leaves a more natural feel, which can make the labia appear normal postsurgery. During labiaplasty, if the propery incisions are made to the proper places, there is usually no scarring visible.

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27. Can you tell me what the differences are in the methods used for labiaplasty, such as Iris scissors and laser? Are there differences in results and procedure?

The goal of labiaplasty surgery is to form a beautiful, comfortable, and small labia minora. While lasers result in straight cuts, a more natural look is achieved through the use of Iris scissors. The recovery time for both methods is the same, with the patient returning to their normal acitivities within 3 days. The results look good 4 weeks after surgery, and the patient usually feels good after 6 weeks. When a surgeon uses a laser to perfom a labiaplasty, it is usually because it is faster and easier for the surgeon.

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OSCAR A. AGUIRRE, MD, FACOG

Dr. Aguirre
Dr. Aguirre is the Director of Aguirre Specialty Care, The Center for Female Pelvic Medicine. Dr. Aguirre is also a member of the Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute of America.
The Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute of America is founded and directed by Dr. David L. Matlock.

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