Labiaplasty for Abnormal Labia
Labiaplasty surgery, or Labioplasty, is a surgical procedure carried out when the labia minora is abnormal and is impacting upon a woman’s quality of life (QOL). Causes may include birth trauma and/or female genital mutilation (FGM).
What is involved in a Labiaplasty?
The labia minora are the two inner flaps of skin on both sides of the vaginal opening, enclosed by the labia majora. Typically changes occur in the appearance of labia minora due to ageing and vaginal delivery.
Labiaplasty involves making small incisions in the folds to remove excess tissue and reshape the labia minora. Other parts, such as the clitoris, are not involved, ensuring that there is no loss of sexual sensation.
There are four main techniques for labiaplasty surgery:
- Edge resection
- Central wedge resection
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Types of Labiaplasty
The edge resection technique is the original labiaplasty technique. It is a simple resection of the tissue at the free edge of the labia minora. This technique features a clamp placed across the area of labial tissue to be resected. The surgeon removes the tissue and then sutures the cut labium minus or labia minora. This procedure is used by most surgeons because it is the easiest method to perform.
The advantage of edge-resection is that it includes removal of the hyper-pigmented labial edges with a linear scar.
The technical disadvantages of the labial-edge resection technique are:
- The loss of the natural wrinkles of the labia minora.
- It is unable to excise redundant tissues of the clitoral hood, when present.
Central wedge resection
Labial reduction through a central wedge resection involves cutting and removing a wedge of tissue from the thickest portion of the labia minora. Unlike the edge resection technique, the central wedge technique preserves the natural wrinkled edge of the labia minora. The benefit of this technique is that an extended wedge can be brought upwards to treat a prominent clitoral hood without a separate incision. The central wedge resection technique gives the finished result a natural contour and avoids direct incisions near the highly-sensitive clitoris.
Labial reduction through de-epithelialisation involves cutting the epithelium of a central area on the medial and lateral aspects of each labium minus. This labioplasty technique reduces the excess vertical tissue while preserving the natural rugosity of the labia minora. The technical disadvantage of de-epithelialisation is that the width of the labia might increase if a large area of labial tissue must be de-epithelialised.
After labiaplasty, normal light activities can be resumed. However, sexual intercourse should be avoided up to 45 days after treatment.