“Sexual confidence is about more than just sex.
It influences your entire life; if you can be confident in the bedroom,
you can be confident anywhere”
Each labia is as unique as a fingerprint.
However for many women, an enlarged labia can not only cause pain, chafing, itchiness and discomfort with tight-fitting clothes – but embarrassment and reduced participation during sexual intimacy.
Here, Cosmetic Physician Dr Mike Shenouda from the Géniale Labiaplasty Centre, answers the most asked questions on one of the world’s fastest-growing cosmetic procedures.
Dr Shenouda is accredited with The American Aesthetic Association, The European College of Cosmetic Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery and the Labiaplasty and Vaginaplasty Training Institute of America.
What is a labiaplasty?
A labiaplasty is a labia reduction surgery to help reduce symptoms of chafing and discomfort when wearing tight clothes.
Other symptoms a labiaplasty may help resolve include:
- Pain and discomfort during sex or during exercise
- Increased vaginal odour due to bacteria on excess skin
- Psychological distress caused by an overly large labia appearance
Outside of addressing physical symptoms, the procedure also aims to improve the appearance of labia so it doesn’t “hang” or protrude and so there is less prominence in the appearance of the female genitalia.
Many women report an improved quality of life after labiaplasty, according to a recent study of 11,000 labiaplasty patients, from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.*
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What happens during a labiaplasty redesign?
The procedure is performed during a day surgery procedure in hospital, and excess tissue is removed from the labia to reduce the size of the labia and correct any potential asymmetry.
Variations of labiaplasty include a Labia Majora procedure which includes removal of excess skin or fat injections to plump up the outer lips
Clitoral hood reduction involves redesigning the excess skin folds to make the area appear less bulky or “unhood” the clitoris to enhance sexual pleasure.
Mons pubis procedures include liposuction or fat removal.
When the mons pubis begins to sag, it can interfere with sex, as well as how clothes fit. This procedure may be performed when diet and exercise do not improve the size or sagging.
The labiaplasties I perform are generally done under a local anaesthetic and take 1-1.5 hours, with patients normally leaving an hour after the procedure.
Stitches do not need to be removed as they dissolve.
Géniale also offers unlimited complimentary follow-up consultations to help you on your journey.
We also provide text support and complimentary accommodation for one night in Sydney for interstate patients.
If you have no one to sign you out of surgery one of our Géniale client care staff will take you back to our hotel.
THE FOUR STEPS OF LABIAPLASTY
Prior to surgery labia may be elongated, asymmetrical or enlarged, causing discomfort.
With the use of a laser any excess skin is gently removed to reshape and resize the labia.
After this, any necessary further reshaping is performed to ensure increased symmetry and improve aesthetic appearance.
Once completed the labia is symmetrical, aesthetically pleasing and any irritating or discomforting excess tissue has been removed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is labiaplasty a morally acceptable surgery?
There is still a huge misconception that labiaplasty is some kind of genital mutilation.
But this is not the case at all.
Some women are born with a large labia. Other women experience labia enlargement after childbirth, and also around menopause when less estrogen may cause the tissues of the vulva and lining of the vagina to become thinner, drier and less elastic and the aging labia may atrophy and stretch.
Outside of pain and discomfort, a large labia frequently causes significant psychological distress.
I have operated on women in many cases where the labia was in excess of 8cm in standing position.
And in one report from the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, patients delayed their Pap Smear due to embarrassment about their labia during the examination.*
Redesigning the labia in these cases can be life-changing in terms of pain and body image.
As this is an emerging area of medicine, I am delighted to provide a service where women can now feel comfortable in seeking new options that were simply not there a few decades ago.
How popular is labiaplasty?*
In 2016, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons said there was a 45% increase on labiaplasty procedures in a single year*, making it the fastest-growing cosmetic procedure in the world.
Similarly in Australia, the “designer vagina” trend is growing at an exponential rate.
It is also important to distinguish exactly who is suitable for the procedure and who isn’t.
In some cases, there is a real physical or psychological need to have the procedure, whether it’s due to childbirth, genetics or ageing.
Other women simply feel very self-conscious about the length of their lips, to the point where it impacts their relationships and desire for intimacy.
However, quite often though I counsel younger women especially where the labia size is in the “normal” or close to the normal range that the labiaplasty is not warranted unless there is significant discomfort or pain or they cannot insert tampons.
I must say the sexual bar has been set high by extreme waxing trends, Brazilian waxing, and the exponential growth of pornography on the website.
Comparing yourself to others and wanting to have a procedure for “an extra less cm of perfection” is not a good reason to have a labiaplasty.
There has also been a recent pilot study at The University of Melbourne*, looking at why girls as young as 11 are seeking genital surgery. It is very important that we begin to understand more about this trend.
Does the labia change with age?
Yes. The shape and appearance of the vulva does change over the years and the most obvious changes are linked to hormonal periods including puberty (becomes larger and thicker), in pregnancy (another increase in length and thickness) and around the menopause (skin atrophies, sags and thins) which can lead to an increased risk of dermatitis in the labial and vulva on older females. A large labia further increases this risk. During this time, cells are readier to shear off with friction or mild trauma with intercourse.
What happens during a complimentary labiaplasty consultation?
During your complimentary consultation, I will address any concerns you may have about your labia symptoms and will answer any questions you may have about your labia surgery.
During the consultation:
- A comprehensive medical history will be taken
- You can share your before and after examples, to help me understand your aesthetic goals.
- I will provide a thorough explanation of the procedure, side effects and costs of labiaplasty and the recovery trajectory
- Which surgical technique best addresses your concerns
- You will also be provided with an exact cost estimate for your procedure
How many labiaplasty procedures have you performed?
I have personally performed more than 350 Labiaplasty procedures for patients in Sydney and interstate.
How much does a labiaplasty cost?
I charge a one-off fee of $3500 for labiaplasty.
Most labiaplasty hospital fees are not covered by Medicare or Private health care rebates (occasionally people will be covered where the issue is a medical issue or deformity) which will be discussed if this is the case during consult.
My fee also includes your post-surgery follow-up appointment plus accommodation for one night for interstate patients.
For many women, the embarrassment surrounding their condition means they will not want to involve others in their decision to have a labiaplasty, so a member of our Sydney Labiaplasty Centre Customer Care team is happy to drive you to your hotel (interstate) or home (local) after the procedure.
At Géniale we will be with you every step of the way on your journey towards improved sexual wellbeing.
When do I qualify for hospital cover?
In order to qualify for a hospital rebate from Medicare, you must meet certain Medicare criteria such as a tear after childbirth, abnormal lips, or some other structural abnormality or a labia that exceeds 8cm in standing position.
The procedure is not covered for purely cosmetic reasons.
The MBS codes for labiaplasty are below.
- 35533: Vulvoplasty or labiaplasty, for repair of: (a) female genital mutilation; or (b) an anomaly associated with a major congenital anomaly of the urogynaecological tract other than a service associated with a service to which item 35536, 37836, 37050, 37842, 37851 or 43882 applies
- 35534: Vulvoplasty or labiaplasty, in a patient aged 18 years or more, performed by a specialist in the practice of the specialist’s specialty, for a structural abnormality that is causing significant functional impairment, if the patient’s labium extends more than 8 cm below the vaginal introitus while the patient is in a standing resting position
How do I know if I am suitable for a labiaplasty procedure?
Several factors impact the appearance and function of the labia. Women who are most suitable for the procedure include:
- Women who have an overly large labia due to genetics or childbirth
- Women who feel uncomfortable physically due to a large labia which can cause infections, rubbing, chafing, odour and itching
- Women who have had labial tears due to childbirth
- Women who have intense displeasure about the size or shape of their labia
- Women who have discomfort and rubbing especially when wearing tight clothing or during exercise.
- Women who have pain during intercourse. Labial hypertrophy can cause significant pain during intercourse (dyspareunia) and a 2017 study* found that pain with intercourse caused by labial hypertrophy is less dependent on size than length, meaning that the labia should be operated on differently when painful sex is the main issue.
- Nothing about your labia is an indicator of your sexual history.
Who is NOT suitable for a labiaplasty procedure?
Women under the age of 18 or teenagers are not suitable candidates for a labiaplasty, unless there are physical symptoms causing discomfort and distress.
How do I know what a normal labia looks like and what is out of the ordinary?
There are two sets of the labia, often called the “lips” of the vagina.
The larger, fleshier labia majora is covered in pubic hair, and the smaller labia minora is tucked inside.
One study in the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology* showed that flaccid labia majora lengths varied from 7 to 12 cm and the smaller minor 2 to 10cm.
Some women have labia measurements out of this range are not bothered by symptoms, but it is when physical discomfort or psychological distress becomes an issue that it is important you discuss it with your doctor.
What should I do before surgery?
It is important to discuss your medical history and medications before your surgery, and I will ask you about medications, allergies and any previous experiences with anaesthesia.
It is also important to stop smoking 10 days before the surgery, as smoking can impact healing significantly.
It is important to discuss medications that may interfere with clotting and cause excessive bleeding.
These may include prescription medications (e.g., warfarin, rivaroxaban, Plavix), over the counter medications (e.g. aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen) and complementary or herbal preparations (e.g. fish oils, gingko, ginseng, Echinacea, St John’s Wort, garlic).
If you in doubt, DON’T leave it out, always tell your doctor what you are taking.
What are the side effects of labiaplasty?
Whilst labiaplasty is a generally well-tolerated procedure possible complications and risks include:
- Bruising, pain and/or swelling, haematoma for several weeks
- Unacceptable scarring
- Delayed wound healing
- Over or under correction
- Change in sensation or numbness
- Anaesthetic side effects (allergy, toxicity, deep venous thrombosis and embolus, heart and lung complications)
What is the best way to recover after a labiaplasty?
Someone should also stay with you for at least 24 hours after you return home or one of the client care staff from Géniale’s Labiaplasty Centre can drive you to your hotel if you are an interstate patient.
It’s important to follow post-operative instructions which include:
- Avoiding sexual intercourse for 6 weeks following surgery
- Strenuous exercise should be avoided for several weeks although walking and normal activities can commence within two or three days after surgery.
- Sitting may not be comfortable for a few days so use a soft pillow or cushion.
- Most patients take a week off work, and whilst desk job workers can return to work after that, a more strenuous job may require an extra week.
- Do not drive if you are taking pain medication.
How can labiaplasty make a difference and when will I see results?
Labial hypertrophy or an enlarged labia can create a significant emotional burden for women.
Thankfully, labiaplasty surgery is often a well-tolerated and viable solution to this issue.
Many women see results are evident immediately after surgery but swelling can obscure total results for up to six weeks.
The scars for the surgery and generally not visible as they are placed in skin folds and after a few months will not generally be noticeable.
If you think that you may be a good candidate for labiaplasty, don’t hesitate to contact us today at Géniale on 9181 3999.
WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED FROM A LABIAPLASTY PROCEDURE?
A labiaplasty can provide a wide range of results, depending on what you’re looking for.
- It can resize or change the shape of your labia
- Reduce its length
- Improve symmetry of the vaginal lips
Those who undergo a labiaplasty procedure due to discomfort during sex or exercise can expect to have this irritation removed and an increase in sexual pleasure. These results are immediate with continued improvement for 3-4 weeks post procedure as your body heals.
How is the Procedure done?
There are many different ways to reshape a labia. After a preliminary consultation Dr Shenouda will discuss with you the best way forward. This may mean a simple injection into the labia, or a minor removal of tissue from the vaginal area. Our large range of options allows us to tailor treatments to your specific needs, giving you the look you desire.
How long does recovery take?
For the majority of patients the 7 - 10 days after your surgery sees swelling and some pain, however, this will begin to improve after this time.
The expected return to work time is 10 - 14 days for office work and up to 2 weeks for jobs requiring physical work.
You will need to apply iced water gauze to the area for 48 hours, allow 2-4 weeks for swimming, depending on healing, and 4-6 weeks for heavy exercise and sexual activity.
How does it work? What are the costs?
Here are some details of the Labiaplasty procedure to help you make an informed decision.
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure performed to refine and contour the appearance of the labia or vaginal lips. This is done to reduce discomfort and enhance the aesthetic appearance of the vagina.
Alternative Names/Types of Surgery
Labia Reduction, Labial Trimming, Majoraplasty, Hoodplasty, Vaginaplasty
The cost per procedure is from $4,250 with the typical length of surgical procedure lasting 45 minutes.
For the majority of cases, local anaesthesia is used, however, in some cases, general anaesthesia is required.
7 - 10 days off from work
4 – 6 weeks before any strenuous exercise or sexual activity
Non-Surgical Laser Labia Tightening
Changes to the labia are no longer inherently surgical. Vaginal Laser Tightening is a safe and non-invasive procedure, designed to tighten the vaginal canal and reinstate strength and rejuvenated healthier vaginal wall and greater sexual satisfaction.
The treatment involves laser-induced thermal effects on the vaginal tissue, stimulating collagen remodelling and the synthesis of new collagen fibres.
It’s a 30 minutes pain-free procedure and as little as 2 treatments (4 weeks apart) are required. Unlike surgical intervention, this procedure carries no risks or complications and there is no downtime.
There may be some minimal sensitivity after the procedure and a transparent discharge for 2-3 days afterwards.
Sexual intercourse is not recommended for 1 week after the procedure. The treatment is popular following childbirth and is also a common treatment for stretching that results naturally as a result of ageing.
*Labiaplasty improves quality of life in study of 11,000 patients, American Society of Plastic Surgeons
*Labiaplasty fastest growing procedure in the world, Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, US
*RACGP Female Genital Cosmetic Surgery, Investigating the Rolf of the General Practitioner, 2015
*Vaginal Surgery, world’s fastest growing cosmetic surgery, The Independent
*Vaginal hypertrophy not linked to length but shape, Science Direct
*Girls as young as 11, seek vaginal cosmetic surgery – why?, University of Melbourne
*Lopsided vagina: are my labia normal?, Healthline
Disclaimer: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.
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