The desire for a correction of the labia minora has increased significantly since the year 2000. This has to do in part, that shaving was again fashionable for women in the Western world and also to the fact that in the last 25 years cosmetic surgery has significantly lost its taboo.
Shaving reveals the anatomical details of the female sex, which shows the same diversity as any other physical features. With the increased visibility of the genitals, its appearance has become more and more important.
Oversized inner labia can sometimes lead to physical impairments. As was indicated in a study by Gress (2007), 23% of women listed functional reasons such as pain or rubbing when wearing tight clothing, sports, cycling and invagination of the inner labia during intercourse were decisive in implementing labiaplasty.
Whether aesthetic or functional reasons are in the foreground, almost all of my patients are asking that their inner lips are in an upright position, not visible and equal in size. To this end, the inner lips are usually reduced or aligned. There are also cases where the inner lips are not particularly large and still protrude significantly. This is due to the fact that the outer labia can be very flat and thus cover the vagina (vulva) less than usual.
In assessing the problem the following priority issues must be considered: Are the outer labia too small, the inner labia are too large, or both together?
Enlarged inner labia can be aligned, reduced or removed completely depending on the patient’s wish. If, in addition to the correction of the labia minora a coverage of the vagina is also desired , the labia majora can be increased accordingly by use of autologous fat transplantation.
Although labiaplasty essentially “only” removes excess skin, this procedure sould by no means be underestimated. The amount of skin to be removed must be well marked before the operation because, due to the high elasticity of the inner labia, it can easily lead to unevenness.
I am of the opinion that the correction of the labia minora, has the same “legitimacy” as any other cosmetic surgery. All cosmetic surgeries are equally necessary and unnecessary. If a woman feels her labia is a nuisance, then she should be able to talk openly about it, unencumbered and without pressure, with her plastic surgeon or gynecologist.
The reduction/removal of the inner labia has nothing to do with the circumcision of women or the removal of the clitoris. Work of this kind must be condemned by every reputable doctor and also of everyone in the strongest terms.
In a labiaplasty, the clitoris, clitoris foreskin and any existing hymen (hymen), remain untouched!
1. What is a Labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty refers to changing the external appearance of the internal and/or outer labia. The language currently used is above all meant to describe the reduction of the labia minora.
2 .What possibilities are there for correction of the inner lips?
Inner labia can be aligned, reduced, or completely removed if desired.
3. What are the possibilities for correction of the labia majora?
Outer labia are usually enlarged with autologous fat to cover the inner labia or the vagina better. Sporadicaly oversized outer labia can also be reduced.
4. Is labia correction purely an aesthetic surgery or are there also medical reasons for it?
Basically it is a correction in cosmetic surgery, but there are also functional reasons such as pain or rubbing when wearing tight clothing, sports or cycling, and invagination of the inner labia during sexual intercourse.
5. Does health insurance cover the costs of the surgery?
Since this is usually an aesthetic surgery, the social security institutions do not cover the costs for the operation. When asymmetries or functional problems exist, after consulting with the medical superintendent/chief physician of the health insurance, the surgery is generally approved.
6. Is the surgery performed under local or general anesthesia?
Labiaplasty can usually be performed under local anesthesia. About 50% of my patients opt for a general anesthetic for comfort reasons in order not to witness the procedure.
7. Can the hymen be broken during a Labiaplasty?
During correction of the inner labia the hymen remains intact.
8. During Labiaplasty can the clitoris be damaged?
In all variants of the labia correction, the clitoris and clitoral prepuce remain unchanged of course.
9. How long is the recovery period after a Labiaplasty?
Wound healing is generally concluded after two weeks. One must take care to keep the genital area hygienic after the operation, (sitz baths after defecation, irrigation with dilute povidone-iodine solution or Camillosan after urination, etc.). Sexual intercourse should be avoided for at least four weeks after the duration.
10. What complications can occur?
In experienced hands, complications are extremely rare. They concern mostly the result of (too much, too little or unequally removed) and remain without any health consequences. Medical complications are bleeding, infection or wound healing disorders which also rarely occur.
The first consultation takes up to 30 minutes and costs EUR 180. For consultations lasting longer than 30 minutes EUR 250 will be charged. All other consultations are free of charge.
If you purchase the Enzyklopaedia Aesthetica book “Schamlippenkorrektur” (Labiaplasty) ( EUR 29.90 ) the first consultation is free of charge! You can purchase the book during your first visit in the ordination or order it online.
Surgical preparation for performing the procedure under local anesthesia
For public health reasons, a blood test (so-called “small laboratory blood”) is necessary, including HIV and hepatitis A, B, C. If you are insured in Austria and the procedure is medically indicated, there are no additional costs.
Surgical preparation for performing the procedure under general anesthesia
The surgical preparation includes a blood test (so-called ” complete blood count “), a chest X-ray, and a surgical release by a general practitioner or internist. If you are insured in Austria and the procedure is medically indicated, there are no additional costs. The same applies to the OP-release by an internist or general practitioner, who is contracted with the usual social security institutions in Austria. In our medical center, there is an internist that the insurance considers a physician of choice. In this case, the insurance will cover about 50% of the cost.
Hospital stay – with or without overnight
EUR 650 – 2.500, – depending on duration of operation, room category (single, double, etc.) and hospital.
In general, the procedure is performed under local anesthesia with no additional costs. If the surgery is performed under general anesthesia, an anesthesiologist is needed for surgery. The cost of anesthesia varies depending on the duration of the operation and is between EUR 300 – 700. An average cost of EUR 400-500 is to be expected.
Depending on what is required (reduction of the inner labia, enlargement of the labia majora, combined interventions) there is a surgical fee of between EUR 1.200-3.800. An average of EUR 2000-2.500 is to be expected.
Visits are included in the surgical fee.
Check-ups are included in the surgical fee.
Labiaplasty should always be performed in an ISO-certified operating room of a hospital.
For surgery under local anesthesia, the following tests should be conducted:
- Preoperative complete blood count including blood type, HIV and hepatitis A, B, C
For surgery under general anesthesia, the following additional tests are needed:
- CHest X-ray
- Surgical release by a general practitioner or internist
Please note that the results may not be over 10 days old at the time of surgery. Please bring the X-ray and all the findings for surgery to the hospital.
Aspirin, Thromboass and similar anticoagulants should not be taken 14 days before the procedure. If necessary, a conversion to Heparin can take place.
Please come 2.5 hours before the procedure to the hospital on the day of the surgery and sign in with the porter. After completing the admission formalities you will be placed in your room. On request, you will receive an infusion, which reduces your thirst.
Labiaplasty performed under general anesthesia requires an overnight stay in a hospital.
- OP-date plan
- OP-date set (take vacation, compensatory time or sick leave, arrange for child care if necessary, etc.)
- Two weeks before the surgery, complete the necessary preoperative exams (blood lab, X-ray, ECG, surgical release)
- A preoperative interview will take place the day before the surgery. It will assess the findings, discuss final details and sign the consent form. An instruction sheet will be given to you by the assistant to complete and bring to the hospital. Planning of the 1st Follow-Up Visit.
- Arrive at the hospital 2.5 hours before surgery to complete admission formalities. If requested, an employee can assistant you to help shorten the time before the surgery.
- Discharge from the hospital usually happens on the day of the surgery. Please do not drive yourself. Take a taxi or let yourself be picked up.
- At home, relaxation and recovery should be in order. Avoid strenuous activities. Please adhere strictly to the recommended hygienic measures and avoid sexual relations for a period of 4 weeks.
- 1st Follow-up Visit (about 5-7 days after surgery)
- 2nd Follow-up Visit (approximately 14 days after surgery): Removing the corner stitches.
- 3rd Follow-up Visit (approximately 30 days after surgery)
- Further follow-up visits will take place after two and six months.
- Final follow-up control after one year