Added by Anne Beckett on 23.02.2022

What is Labiaplasty?

The outer labia (labia majora), the inner labia (labia minora), the clitoris, the urethra and the vagina in a woman are known collectively as the vulva. The two main folds of skin around the vulva are the labia minora (inner fold) and the labia majora (outer fold).

orhid in woman's hand

Labiaplasty is a cosmetic surgery in case if labia minora is not acceptable by woman or causes a discomfort to her.

There are huge differences between the size, shape and colour of women’s labia minora. The lack of publicly available pictures and descriptions, due to their sexual nature, mean that many women have no idea what the ‘norm’ may be. Additionally there are so many variances that it is difficult to actually say what normal labia minora and labia majora look like. It would be similar to trying to say what a ‘normal’ eye looks like in terms of shape, colour and size – impossible. One Australian website which does provide pictures of ‘normal’ labia in all their different shapes and sizes is the ‘The Labia Library’ listed in the reference section below.

What is labiaplasty surgery?

Despite these individual differences, for some women, a labia minora which hangs below the labia majora is not acceptable and, in some circumstances, may even cause discomfort. At this stage they may turn to labiaplasty plastic surgery. What is labiaplasty surgery? Labiaplasty surgery is also known as labioplasty, vulval surgery, labia surgery and vaginal rejuvenation surgery and is undertaken, often as a cosmetic procedure rather than a necessary medical procedure. There are two main folds of skin around the vulva – the labia minora (inner fold or inner labia) and the labia majora (outer fold or outer labia). So, a labiaplasty definition is a surgical alteration to the shape of the tissues around the vulva.

What is a labiaplasty procedure?

The most often performed procedure is a reduction labiaplasty, where the labia minora (the inner folds) are trimmed so that they are at the same level as the labia majora and sit neatly within the labia majora. However there are a variety of different ways for surgeons to achieve this and the section below on labiaplasty techniques will better explain exactly what is a labiaplasty.

Labiaplasty surgery, itself, has caused some controversy among the medical profession. Sometimes there are genuine medical reasons for the procedure, however it is often performed purely as a cosmetic procedure. Some regard this as exploitation of psychologically insecure women and in a 2007 report by The International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Medicine, it was stated that, ‘vulvar plastic surgery may be warranted only after counselling if it is still the patient’s preference, provided that it is conducted in a safe manner and not solely for the purpose of performing surgery’.

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Reasons for Labiaplasty

As mentioned above many women have a labiaplasty purely for cosmetic reasons, however sometimes there are genuine medical reasons for labiaplasty. Having extra long labia can cause some physical problems. These include discomfort when doing sports e.g. walking, running, cycling, constant urinary tract infections when hygiene becomes a problem due to the many folds of skin and difficulty in sexual activity. It is also used for intersex people (those born with both male and female genitalia) and also in sex reassignment.

Why do women have labiaplasty?

More often women have labiaplasty labia majora reduction as a cosmetic procedure. Why do women have labiaplasty? As mentioned above, there is a scarcity of images featuring women’s genitalia due to their very explicit sexual nature. However, they may be viewed by both men and women on pornography sites. Often these images are of young girls, sometimes even pre-pubescent, and are heavily edited. Both men and women, therefore, tend to associate the ‘ideal’ vulva as something resembling these pictures. With maturity and under the influence of female hormones, the labia enlarge and noticeable folds of thin skin appear. Very often these images of young girls portray vulva which are not yet fully formed.

woman put hands on her belly

The most common reasons for labiaplasty are aesthetic

Should I get labiaplasty?

Some women may feel subconscious, when long labia can be seen in tight-fitting clothes or they may feel emotional or psychological distress during sex. However, the most common reasons for labiaplasty are aesthetic. When it comes to cosmetic surgery, labiaplasty is still counted as one of the less common procedures.

According to the US Cosmetic Surgery Data Bank labiaplasty ranks 17th in their list of cosmetic surgeries, below such procedures as liposuction, various breast surgeries, face tucks/lifts and and nose surgery. However, labia reduction did increase over 200% between 2012 and 2017 with the most common age group being 19-34 years of age. None of these figures include vaginoplasty, labiaplasty is a completely different procedure. Although often confused, vaginoplasty is a tightening of the vagina, whereas labiaplasty is only concerned with the external labia. Sometimes the two procedures are performed together and are often marketed together under the umbrella term ‘vaginal rejuvenation’.

Should I get a labiaplasty for labia reduction?

Anybody considering such an option for aesthetic reasons should question their own motivation for such a procedure. Cosmetic surgery is very much tied up with Body Dismorphic Disorder and other psychological issues. The answer to a better perceived body image may not always lie in physical changes. However, after some consideration if you feel labiaplasty is definitely for you, please continue reading and, in addition, try to find out as much as possible, generally about the procedure.

Labiaplasty Before Childbirth

Labia minora surgery is most frequently requested after childbirth, when some women notice changes to their vulva area generally. However, there is no reason why a woman should not have labiaplasty before childbirth. It will not interfere with a natural childbirth in any way and providing the labiaplasty has healed well, giving birth will not affect the results of the labiaplasty. Unlike some other cosmetic procedures, labiaplasty endures. It cannot be naturally ‘changed’ and a second procedure should never be needed even with the ‘trauma’ of childbirth. Having a labiaplasty before childbirth will not pose any problems whatsoever.

Mom breast feeding baby girl

Labiaplasty can be performed after childbirth, as well as before it.

Teen Labiaplasty

How old do you have to be to get labiaplasty? Labiaplasty should never be performed on anybody under 18. Many women do not reach full maturity until their early 20s, so prior to this their bodies are still developing and changing. When teen labiaplasty is performed before the tissues have finished their natural growth, it may lead to some negative results later. These may include scarring, a loss of sensation in the vaginal tissues, discomfort when wearing close fitting clothes and even painful intercourse. In addition, of course, the surgery may be ‘improving’ the shape of normal tissues which will not be bothersome at all in a couple of years’ time. Only in rare cases of deformity or injury should labiaplasty even be considered for a woman in her teens.

Labiaplasty Techniques

There are a number of different labiaplasty techniques and a reputable surgeon should be able to perform a range of these depending on the patient’s elected outcome. The surgery for labiaplasty minora is very different from that of labiaplasty majora. As mentioned previously, the majority of labiaplasty surgery is performed on the labia minora.

doctor doing the surgery

There are a number of different labiaplasty techniques and a reputable surgeon should be able to perform a range of these depending on the patient’s elected outcome.

Labiaplasty majora is usually a procedure performed on middle-aged and older women where a significant weight loss has occurred. This may lead to an enlarged (hypertrophic) and protruding labia majora and mons pubis. The mons pubis is the rounded soft-skin protuberance found on the topmost part of the vulva. These changes to the mon pubis and labia majora may lead to discomfort in certain types of clothes as well as infections because the extra tissue makes it difficult to maintain proper hygiene.

Labiaplasty minora, the more frequently performed surgery, is most often a cosmetic labiaplasty as it is only rarely carried out for medical reasons. Sometimes it may also include a clitoral hood reduction. The clitoral hood is the skin covering the shaft and end of the clitoris in a woman.

Let’s look as some of the most frequently performed types of labiaplasty.

Barbie Labiaplasty – What Is It?

barbie Monro

Barbie labiaplasty has a high satisfaction level.

The Barbie labiaplasty, sometimes referred to as Barbie Doll labiaplasty, is probably the most comprehensive procedure. Its aim is to create a labiaplasty Barbie look by reducing the labia minora and clitoral hood so that no skin tissue hangs out at all. There will just be a straight vertical line in the middle.

This Barbie labiaplasty may involve up to three basic procedures. Firstly the labia minora are shortened as much as possible, secondly as much tissue as is possible is removed from the clitoral hood and thirdly, there may be a transfer of fat cells into the labia majora if required.

Barbie labiaplasty has a high satisfaction level among patients, who like the aesthetics of the labiaplasty Barbie look.

Trim Method Labiaplasty

The trim method labiaplasty is the most commonly used procedure. As the name suggests this labiaplasty method ‘trims’ the excess labia minora along its entire length. It also means that any hiperpigmented or dark tissue is cut away and the ‘new’ edge of the labia minora will be the usual pink skin colour. The trim method labiaplasty can successfully treat the excessive length, asymmetry and discolouration of the labia minora. An incision will run along the labia minora’s length, however as the scar matures it should become more discreet. The surgeon will usually locate the incision in the best place to avoid any subsequent loss of sensation in this area.

Laser Labiaplasty

The use of lasers for a labiaplasty or vaginal procedure can be divided into two slightly different types of procedures. The first one is the laser reduction labiaplasty where essentially a trim method labiaplasty is performed, except that instead of making an incision with a scalpel, a laser is used. The surgeon discusses with the patient prior to the surgery the amount of tissue to be removed. When the patient has received local anaesthetic the ‘excess’ tissue is clamped and removed by laser. Usually no stitches are required and the patient may go home after a few hours. The success rate of the laser reduction labiaplasty is very good.

laser near woman's body

The success rate of the laser reduction labiaplasty is very good.

The second type of procedure is a laser vaginal rejuvenation. In this type of labiaplasty, laser beams are used to restore and improve the tissue quality and function. Over time, and especially after childbirth, the amount of collagen in the vaginal tissue reduces and loses its strength. This happens in much the same way in the skin in other places and is one of the reasons why, for example, wrinkles appear on the face. Laser vaginal rejuvenation is a non-invasive surgical procedure which heats and regenerates the collagen, particularly in the vaginal canal, thus tightening and repairing any laxity in this area. It may resolve problems such as painful intercourse, urinary incontinence, recurrent vaginal or urinary tract infections and vaginal dryness. The ‘tightening’ will also enhance the cosmetic appearance of the vagina, however not in such a striking way as with a normal labiaplasty. Usually two to three sessions are required over a three month period. A laser vaginal rejuvenation is cheaper than the laser reduction labiaplasty cost.

 

Labiaplasty Laser vs Scalpel

There is very little scientific literature on the topic of having a labiaplasty laser vs scalpel. However, the small amount of independent information available does seem to point to the fact that laser labiaplasty is better than the traditional scalpel method. It appears to have less post-operative complications and the aesthetic outcomes are better. Nonetheless, as with any surgical procedure, the best procedure will depend on the exact nature of the operation as well as the training of the doctor. Each case should be reviewed individually.

Labiaplasty Wedge Method

The labiaplasty wedge method (or Central V-Wedge Resection) differs from the trim method inasmuch as the incision is not a straight line but a v-shape (rather like a piece of cake or pie). The wedge technique labiaplasty reduces the part of the labia minora which is the most enlarged but maintains the original edges so it has a more natural contour. The smaller scar is horizontal and there is generally less scar sensitivity than with the trim method. The wedge method labiaplasty is also a slightly quicker procedure, although wound healing complications are slightly higher, but still affect an exceptionally small number of patients.

 

Labiaplasty and Vaginoplasty

Vaginoplasty and labiaplasty are two different treatments with different objectives. Labiaplasty, as we have seen, is a procedure which changes and/or reduces the shape/size of the labia minora, or occasionally the labia majora. It is, by and large a cosmetic procedure, although occasionally it is performed for medical reasons. Vaginoplasty, on the other hand, is designed to ‘tighten’ the vagina which may have become stretched through natural childbirth or simply ageing, as with the laser vaginal rejuvenation treatment. Some medical practices market their procedures as vaginal labiaplasty when actually these two procedures are completely different things, although they may be performed at the same time.

two girls sitting

Vaginoplasty and labiaplasty are two different treatments with different objectives.

What is Vaginoplasty?

Apart from the procedures which allegedly strengthen and rejuvenate the vagina and vaginal canal, other procedures are classed as vaginoplasty.

Vaginal rejuvenation and/or a designer vaginoplasty procedure include:

  • Revirgination – where the hymen, normally broken the first time a woman has intercourse, is repaired to mimic its original virginal state. This is a very controversial surgery given its association with certain religious cultures.
  • Clitoral unhooding – a removal of the tissue which normally covers the clitoris.
  • G-Spot amplification – this involves injecting collagen into the front wall of the vagina, which theoretically increases pleasure.

It is worth nothing that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (ACOG) does not consider cosmetic vaginoplasty surgery as an accepted routine procedure. In addition, vaginoplasty results i.e. long-term satisfaction and complication rates have not been tracked nor fully evaluated in official medical terms.

Labiaplasty Procedure

The first step in the labiaplasty procedure is an initial consultation with the surgeon. The usual criteria for performing a labiaplasty procedure is if the size or shape of the labia affects the patient’s self-confidence or interferes with daily activities. At this consultation the surgeon will establish if a labiaplasty is, indeed, the correct procedure for the patient and, also, exactly what the expectations of the surgery are. The patient may also be offered other procedures in tandem with the labiaplasty such as vaginoplasty, clitoral hood reduction or mons pubis liposuction. The surgeon will also answer any labiaplasty questions.

Surgeons recommend that their patients take at least one week off work – as with any surgical intervention the body needs time to heal itself. Healthy eating habits like drinking plenty of water and eating nutritious, healthy food, as well as getting plenty of sleep prior to the surgery can ensure a quicker recovery.

consultation

The first step in the labiaplasty procedure is an initial consultation with the surgeon.

How is labiaplasty done?

It is normally performed as an outpatient procedure and generally can take up to 30 minutes. However, most patients spend around 2-3 hours at the medical centre on the day of the procedure. The surgeon will probably use either the trim technique or the wedge technique, depending on the expected outcome as discussed at the initial consultation.

After the procedure, the surgeon may prescribe painkillers to help with the initial post-surgery pain and discomfort. As with any surgery, people’s bodies respond in different ways, however, generally, most patients should expect to be recovered in one to two weeks. Patients are advised, though, to refrain from sexual intercourse for up to 6 weeks after the procedure.

Who Performs Labiaplasty – Gynaecologist or Plastic Surgeon?

Can gynaecologists do labiaplasty? Yes – a labiaplasty surgeon may be either a gynaecologist or a plastic surgeon. It is probably fair to say that labiaplasty doctors who perform the surgery for medical reasons are more likely to be gynaecologists, whilst purely cosmetic procedures are more likely to be performed by a plastic surgeon. The labiaplasty surgeons in many of the private clinics, which advertise these services, are often plastic surgeons. For a plastic surgeon, labiaplasty is often a fairly routine operation.

Is Labiaplasty Painful?

Any surgery will cause some pain in the few days after the procedure, however the pain should be fairly minimal and the medical staff may give painkillers to control any discomfort. Most over-the counter painkillers will also work well. People’s bodies react in different ways to surgery so the healing process will vary greatly from one person to the next. Googling ‘labiaplasty story’ will provide many first hand accounts of people who have been through the procedure and what the pain was like for them.

birth control pills on pink background, close up

You may take painkillers to control any discomfort after labiaplasty.

Labiaplasty Recovery and Aftercare

Labiaplasty recovery, generally, will not take too long. Most people are back to ‘normal’ in one to two weeks. Reading people’s personal labiaplasty stories reveals the differences in rates of recovery and the challenges met along the way. However, walking seems to be more challenging in the first few days, with many patients saying they had to take small shuffling steps. Labiaplasty aftercare includes at least two days’ bed rest after the surgery in order for the body recover from the trauma. Most medical staff also recommend not using any soap products for about two weeks when recovering from labiaplasty as this may irritate the wound. Other reports claim that, depending on where the swelling occurs post-op, weeing may be a strange experience as it may go everywhere!

Labiaplasty surgery recovery is greatly accelerated if the patient eats a healthy diet and, in particular, drinks plenty of water. Other post labiaplasty care involves:

  • maintaining good hygiene and keeping the area clean and free from infection;
  • preventing any rubbing in the area by wearing loose underwear and clothes;
  • using sanitary towels instead of tampons for a few weeks;
  • avoiding sexual intercourse for 6 weeks;
  • avoiding intense physical activity for 6-12 weeks.

If all the above instructions are adhered to it will contribute greatly to the labiaplasty, after recovery, being a success. Reading other people’s labiaplasty recovery stories and seeing what really helped for them will also aid the personal recovery of other patients. The timeline of recovery, labiaplasty surgeons suggest is relatively short.

Recovery Time After Labiaplasty

Labiaplasty recovery time is fairly short when compared to some other surgeries. Provided patients adhere to the programme given to them by their doctor, recovery after labiaplasty should pose few problems. Below is a typical labiaplasty recovery timeline which should be used as a guideline only. Exact timings will vary from one patient to another.

Time after labiaplasty

Recovery Guide

Day One


There will be some swelling and pain/discomfort. Passing urine may ‘sting’ the wound as it passes over the incision. Spraying the area with a spray bottle filled with water will help. The friction from walking may cause pain.

Day Two


Swelling may increase - if necessary continue with painkillers.

One Week


The swelling should be lessening and less pain medication needed. There may be some irritation around the wound as it begins to heal itself.

Two Weeks


There may still be some tenderness and swelling but no real pain. Continue to maintain good hygiene in the area. Walking is good exercise.

Three Weeks


The swelling will continue for a while yet and the vagina area will still not look ‘normal’. Pressure in the area may still be a problem so loose clothing may still need to be worn.

Four Weeks



Any dissolvable stitches should be fully gone. More strenuous exercise my be undertaken

Six Weeks



Most patients are about 90% healed. sexual intercourse may be resumed and tampons may again be used.

Although the recovery time after labiaplasty for the body to heal itself is about six weeks, it will still be some time – about 4-6 months – before the full aesthetic results of the procedure will be visible.

Girl in lingerie with slim figure

The recovery time after labiaplasty for the body to heal itself is about six weeks

Labiaplasty Swelling

As with any surgical procedure, it is normal for there to be some swelling at the site of the procedure. Labiaplasty swelling will probably peak three to five days after the operation. Swelling may be reduced by lying on the stomach with the bottom raised or by placing an ice pack over the area, on top of any underwear for up to 20 minutes at a time. (20 minutes on/20 minutes off). Most swelling should disappear after six weeks, however residual swelling may take up to six months to disappear.

It is also normal for there to be labiaplasty swelling on just one side. This will, initially, make the vulva appear to be extremely malformed, however over time it will correct itself as the swelling subsides.

Sex After Labiaplasty

The surgeon will always advise the patient to refrain from sexual intercourse for six to eight weeks after the procedure. The whole area will remain bruised and slightly swollen for some time. After a labiaplasty, sex may be very painful. The key is to take it slowly and gently at first and make sure that your parter is aware of the initial limitations.

Labiaplasty Results

The aim of labiaplasty surgery is to make the labia minora smaller so they do not hang down lower than the labia majora. Sometimes it may also be performed to even up the labia and make them more symmetrical. Patient satisfaction rates are over 94%.

Those women who had experienced discomfort during sexual intercourse or when performing certain activities report that their symptoms are relieved after labiaplasty surgery. Those who have the procedure purely for cosmetic reasons, report that their labiaplasty experience was very positive and they are happy with the subsequent appearance of their vagina.

The scarring from labiaplasty is minimal and recovery time is short when compared to some other types of surgery. The results when compared before and after labiaplasty can be quite remarkable. The other plus with labiaplasty results is that the effect is permanent, unlike some other cosmetic procedures which may need to be repeated when a certain amount of time has lapsed.

As with any surgery, it is possible to get bad labiaplasty results, often referred to as a botched labiaplasty. These usually occur when the surgeon is not well-qualified. One of the most frequent mistakes is when too much tissue is removed from the labia and, at the same time, too little removed from the clitoral hood. This will mean that the end of result will not be the smooth lines intended. The other mistake is when the surgeon uses the wrong type of stitches so that bulges and track marks appear. Both of these issues can be corrected relatively easily, but will mean further surgery. The key is to ensure that the surgeon is well-experienced in this particular type of procedure.

Labiaplasty Success Rate

Patient satisfaction rates for labiaplasty is around 94%. It will take some time – up to six months in some women – for the full success of the labiaplasty to become apparent. There is not a huge amount of medically peer-reviewed information on the long-term effects/ success rate of the procedure as it is a fairly new addition to cosmetic surgery. Therefore, it is difficult to ascertain the long-term labiaplasty success rate, or indeed the subsequent long-term complications.

Gorgeous girl with a beautiful smile and sunrays reflected on her happy face

Patient satisfaction rates for labiaplasty is  94%.

Labiaplasty Risks

All surgeries carry a very minor risk of death associated with the anaesthetic and post-surgery blood clotting causing deep vein thrombosis. Labiaplasty risks also include these problems albeit on a very very small scale. However, it will pay to discuss any underlying conditions you may have with the surgeon as well as ensuring that your body is in its best condition before embarking on any surgery. This will not only drastically reduce the side-effects of the surgery but will also speed up the recovery process.

According to a 2005 study the main dangers of labiaplasty are: dehiscence (the surgical wound re-opens), haematoma (bleeding), unsatisfactory scarring and superficial infections. The re-opening of the wound or separation of the stitched edges may be caused by the patient embarking on more energetic pursuits before the wound is properly healed. Even walking, although excellent exercise after an operation, will have to be done in short sessions initially to prevent pain and possible bursting of the stitches.

sad girl

In general, bad labiaplasty results, where the patient is unhappy with the end result, are often down to either unrealistic expectations or a lack of communication between the surgeon and the patient. A bad labiaplasty can also, of course, be the result of an inexperienced or not properly qualified surgeon. As with any surgery it always pays to check out the credentials of the surgeon and ask pertinent questions like how many labiaplasties they have performed, what is their experience as well as asking to be put in touch with any of their previous patients. Providing the surgery has been correctly performed there should be no long-term labiaplasty side effects.

Labiaplasty Infection

Any incision in the skin carries the risk of infection, however a labiaplasty infection is extremely rare. Most surgeons will prescribe some form of antibiotic treatment immediately after the surgery, either orally or topically. Signs of an infection include redness, swelling and/or any discharge from the incision. A fever may also sometimes be a sign of a labiaplasty infection. It is best to contact a doctor with any sign of infection. If it is not treated promptly, it may enter the bloodstream with more serious consequences.

Labiaplasty Revision

‘Revision’ surgery refers to a second or subsequent operation, sometimes required if the results of the first operation are not as expected, if there has been a problem with the first operation or if the positive effects of the first operation have now worn off. As a labiaplasty is a permanent reshaping of the vulva area, any labiaplasty revision is either due to complications associated with the first surgery or the result of the first surgery not meeting the customer’s expectations i.e. for either aesthetic or functional reasons.

 

Some of the conditions which require aesthetic revision after labiaplasty include:

  • Excessive marks left by stitches;
  • The inner labia being reduced too much;
  • The inner labia being longer than the patient wanted;
  • The labia are not equal lengths;
  • The edge of the labia skin is irregular and ragged (known as ‘scalloping’);
  • The necessary clitoral excess tissue has not been removed so appears as a ‘micropenis’.

 

Functional defects that may require labiaplasty revision include:

  • Incorrect urine flow i.e. it flows to the left, to the right or to the back;
  • Pain and/or dryness during sexual intercourse;
  • Loss of sexual pleasures.

 

Unfortunately with a ‘botched’ labiaplasty surgical reconstruction, revision surgery may not be possible in at least 50% of cases. This is often true where there is ‘over-removal’ – too much skin/tissue has been taken away.

Usually, the original surgeon will perform minor revisions free of charge, however there will be a charge for a re-construction and this cost is often higher than the original surgery as this revision is more difficult and time-consuming. Revision surgery, generally, is less effective than the original surgery and carries higher risks. It is, therefore, very important that a patient firstly chooses a reputable surgeon and secondly, agrees with the surgeon on how the vulvar area will look after the surgery.

It is also worth remembering that the final appearance of the labiaplasty will not become clear for 3-4 months due to swelling, bleeding and discolouration. So, usually a labiaplasty revision should not take place until at least four months after the original surgery.

Labiaplasty Pros and Cons

 

The benefits of a labiaplasty include:

  • More self-confidence which may lead to a greater satisfaction with sexual experiences and better and more frequent sexual encounters;
  • For some women, it is more comfortable when participating in sports due to the decreased friction;
  • Possible improvements and ease in keeping the vulvar area clean and hygienic.

 

As with any surgery, there are some downsides:

  • There may be some discomfort for up a week after the surgery;
  • Patients cannot have sexual intercourse for six to eight weeks after surgery;
  • The labia may have skin irregularities such as wrinkles and discolouration;
  • There is also the small possibility of any of the risks associated with surgery – chronic nerve pain, infection, scarring and blood clots.

Labiaplasty Cost

How much does labiaplasty cost? It is unusual for labiaplasty to be performed as surgery free of charge on the NHS or national health service of the relevant country. For this reason the majority of labiaplasties are carried out in the private sector. The labiaplasty price will vary hugely between different clinics and different regions. The average labiaplasty surgery cost in the UK is usually quoted as between £2000 and £4000. Typical average labiaplasty prices in various regions of the UK are:

UK Region

Average cost in GPB

East Midlands

2 075

East of England

2 152


Greater London

2 100

NorthWest England

2 225

Scotland

2 885

South England

2 450

South West England

2 225

West Midlands

2 075


Yorkshire and Humberside

1 981

It is worth bearing in mind that these prices are averaged out from a handful of clinics in each region so the labiaplasty price range may vary considerably. The labiaplasty average cost in central London, and, indeed, in many of the larger cities is much higher.

When considering the question – how much is labiaplasty – it also pays to bear in mind that the private cosmetic surgery business is largely unregulated. Although, for many people, the cost of labiaplasty will be one of the most important deciding factors, it should be remembered that if the surgery is badly done or requires revision surgeon, this could make the whole procedure extremely expensive. Therefore, in order to get the best value for money, any potential patient should check out not only the cost for labiaplasty but also the credentials of the surgeon and, wherever possible, talk to people who have personal experience of the procedure at this particular clinic/with this particular surgeon.

Calculator with money coins

The average labiaplasty surgery cost in the UK is usually quoted as between £2000 and £4000.

In addition to all of this, costs will vary hugely depending on the look to be ultimately achieved and whether clitoral hood reduction and/or other procedures are also required. Many clinics will include all costs in their ‘package’ price, however prospective patients should always ask ‘How much is a labiaplasty including any additional costs?’. Additional costs may be consultations pre- and post-surgery and the cost of the anaesthetic process and any medication required after the surgery. It is also worth discussing what the financial implications are if something goes wrong. Many surgeons will not give a patient an exact cost until they know precisely what work needs to be done. The laser labiaplasty cost may be slightly cheaper but this depends on the clinic’s pricing structure.

So, to come back to our original question – how much is labiaplasty surgery? Best is to take the ballpark figure of £2000 – £4000, contact some reputable surgeons, maybe even in some other parts of the UK if you are mobile, and ensure that the price given includes everything as mentioned above.

Can Labiaplasty Be Covered By Insurance?

Is labiaplasty covered by insurance? – in the majority of cases the answer is ‘no’. Generally medical insurance companies divide surgery into two categories – reconstructive and cosmetic. Reconstructive surgery is often defined as a procedure which corrects abnormal structure to improve function or appearance. An abnormal structure would normally be a birth defect or the outcome of a traumatic injury. Cosmetic surgery, on the other hand, is often defined as the re-shaping or improving of normal structures. As, the majority of the time, labiaplasty is concerned only with improving the shape or look of a normal body part, it is normally classified as a cosmetic procedure, rather than medically necessary.

Every medical insurance company, however, has its own set of rules, and, where the length of the labia is physically disrupting somebody’s life, there may be the possibility that the insurance may look favourably upon the matter. It is always worth posing the question to your medical insurance company – does health insurance cover labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty UK

There is no doubt that labiaplasty in the UK is on the rise, particularly in younger girls.

The British Society for Paediatric & Adolescent Gynaecology give the following reasons for this increase including:

  • Relative accessibility of unrealistically narrow representations of vulval appearance in popular culture;
  • Relative inaccessibility of realistically wide variations in typical female genital vulval appearance;
  • Increased visibility of and irritation to the vulva due to pubic hair removal;
  • Intensive marketing of labiaplasty as an unproblematic life-style choice for females.

Whatever the reasons it appears that labiaplasty is fast becoming one of the ‘go to’ procedures when it comes to cosmetic surgery. As with any other commodity which becomes popular very fast, there are some untrained people who can see a way of making some money fast. This, of course, does not apply to every surgeon, most of whom are extremely reputable, however it is something to bear in mind.

The General Medical Council (GMC) register records all doctors registered to practise in the UK on its List of Registered Medical Practitioners. As well as general information about each doctor it also provides primary medical qualifications and specialist qualifications. So, if you are looking for the best labiaplasty surgeon UK for yourself, this is a good place to check out the surgeon’s qualifications.

There are an abundance of labiaplasty clinics, UK based. Googling, for example, labiaplasty London, labiaplasty Glasgow or labiaplasty Manchester will provide the details of several private specialist clinics in each city. Of course, private medical service suppliers, like BMI, BUPA, Nuffield and HCA also have their own clinics and sometimes these clinics can also provide labiaplasty surgery. UK private clinics can be found all over the country.

Labiaplasty Cost UK

How much is labiaplasty? UK prices as mentioned earlier are around £2000-£4000. This labiaplasty surgery UK price is relatively high when compared to other countries around the world. The labiaplasty UK cost can be reduced by going overseas for treatment, as will be explored later in this article. One of the possible advantages of having a labiaplasty in the UK, is that some clinics offer not only a female surgeon but also an all-female medical team. This may mean that the cost of labiaplasty (UK) may be a little higher but some patients may feel more relaxed with this scenario.

In addition to checking out the price of labiaplasty UK-based and the credentials of the surgeon on the GMC Register, there are some other checks worth making.  All independent clinics and hospitals that provide cosmetic surgery should be registered with the Care Quality Commission. The surgeon should be a ‘full member’ of The British Association of Plastic Reconstruction and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) or the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).

Thus, as mentioned above, when checking out the price of labiaplasty, UK registers of plastic surgeons will help in making the right choice.

Labiaplasty NHS

Can labiaplasty be done on the NHS? As labiaplasty is formally classed as cosmetic surgery, labiaplasty on NHS is not normally available. In certain rare circumstances an NHS labiaplasty may be offered. These circumstances include situations where there are abnormal labia, tears in the labia after childbirth or where a woman has vulval cancer and the cancerous tissue must be removed. For any other reason, including psychological reasons, a free labiaplasty on the NHS will usually be refused and there can be no labiaplasty cost NHS refund. The conditions for a ‘medically necessary’ labiaplasty are very stringent, although there has been an increase in NHS free labiaplasty surgery in recent years. However, GPs are discouraged from referring patients for a surgical labiaplasty.

NHS logo

The labiaplasty surgery on NHS is not normally available.

Labiaplasty NHS Requirements

As stated above a labiaplasty on the NHS is very rare and will only be funded in exceptional circumstances. Generally, GPs are encouraged to refer patients, who want labiaplasty surgery NHS-funded, for psychological counselling.

Labiaplasty NHS Waiting List

In exceptional circumstances where a labiaplasty is deemed medical necessary, there could still be a long wait for the surgery. A labiaplasty is not classed as emergency surgery so an approved patient will have to join the labiaplasty waiting list. In normal circumstances, the maximum time a patient should be on an NHS waiting list is 18 weeks. However, during the Covid-19 pandemic the NHS has had other priorities and waiting lists are getting longer and longer. It is worth remembering, however, that once a patient is on a waiting list they have the right to ask for NHS treatment in any hospital in their country (England, Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland). Sometimes it may be possible to find a hospital with a shorter waiting list than the local hospital.

Alternatives to Labiaplasty

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

There are no standarts of ‘perfect’ vulva, each woman is different.

As a labiaplasty actually involves cutting part of the labia, there are no real non-surgical labiaplasty alternatives. Radio frequency can sometimes be used to ‘tighten’ the vulva and laser treatments may be used instead of an incision with a knife, but in order to change the shape of the vulva and get rid of any excess tissue and skin some form of invasive surgery must happen.

Even the best labiaplasty carries some risks and there are concerns that a lot of the time the surgery is not necessary and therefore patients are putting themselves at risk for no physical reason. Counselling is one approach that can help to give reassurance that, actually, surgery is not required. It can be used when the labia may be enlarged but do not cause pain or discomfort. A psychologist may be able to help someone feel more confident about their appearance and more relaxed during sexual intercourse so that it is not so painful. Wearing loose clothing and cotton underwear may also help with any discomfort.

Despite images on the Internet and in magazines there is really no such thing as a ‘perfect’ vulva, each woman is different.

Labiaplasty Abroad

Having decided on a labiaplasty for cosmetic reasons, most women will search for ‘a labiaplasty near me’. However, it may pay to think about surgery a little further afield. Relatively cheap labiaplasty can be found in other countries and a labiaplasty abroad is definitely worth some consideration. Many overseas countries can boast of having some of the best labiaplasty surgeons, but at the same time, and usually due to a much lower cost of living, they can also offer cheap labiaplasty surgery.

Here is just a taster of the sort of prices which are available in a selection of different countries. These prices do not include air fares or any associated hotel costs.

Country

Approximate average prices in GBP

Czechia

950

Egypt

550

Hungary

1000

Lithuania

600

Poland

1000

Thailand

1500

Turkey

1400

As can be seen, there are some very real savings to be made, when bearing in mind that the equivalent labiaplasty surgery in the UK is priced between £2000 – £4000. If considering labiaplasty abroad, however, find out as much as possible about both the clinic and the surgeon. This is one area where an agency is indispensable as they can recommend top labiaplasty surgeons. They will know, often first hand, which clinics and surgeons are best for a specific procedure. They can also furnish you with genuine information about the surgeons and put you in touch with other clients who have also had surgery with the same surgeon and/or at the same medical centre.

Labiaplasty Poland

Poland wooden map

Plastic surgery Poland prices can be 50% plus cheaper than in some other countries.

With the rise of cosmetic and plastic surgery, Poland has emerged as one of the front runners when it comes to popular destinations. In many respects, Poland is an ideal destination for all types of cosmetic surgery. It boasts excellent well-equipped and modern medical centres, well trained medical staff and a low-cost of living. These three things combine to provide low-cost surgery but in a high-tech environment. The cosmetic surgery medical centres in Poland attract medical tourists from all over the world including Europe, the USA and the Middle East.

When it comes to plastic surgery, Poland prices can be 50% plus cheaper than in some other countries and yet still offer an equivalent private medical service. Doctors in Poland are well-trained and some of the best surgeons work in the private medical centres and clinics which market themselves to customers from abroad. English is widely spoken both inside the clinics and outside in the major cities.

A labiaplasty in Poland is a good choice, firstly because of cost, but also because of the huge choice of flights from and to many UK airports with excellent value for money tickets offered by airlines like WizzAir, Ryanair and Easyjet. Flight times from the UK to Poland are around 2 ½ hours – a fact which is very important on the return journey where sitting for long periods may cause discomfort. Our consultants can provide specific details on the clinics we represent together with testimonies from other patients.

Labiaplasty Turkey

istanbul turkey

Turkey plastic surgery prices is much lower than in the UK.

Turkey is one of the most popular medical tourism places, especially for Europeans who are considering any form of cosmetic surgery. The International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ) rates Turkey as the third most visited country in the world for medical tourism.

Like Poland, many of the Turkish hospitals and clinics are dedicated to visitors from abroad. They offer some of the latest treatments and procedures in clean and comfortable surroundings, equipped with some of the latest technological advances. Many Turkish doctors have had experience in working in western European hospitals and in the many private medical centres catering for overseas clients. All the staff are fluent in English.

When it comes to a labiaplasty cost, Turkey is much lower than in the UK, with prices at around £1400. If you are thinking about a labiaplasty, Turkey is definitely a place worth considering. Our consultants can provide specific details of clinics in Turkey which would best suit your personal needs.

Labiaplasty Abroad – other locations

Where can I get labiaplasty surgery? Actually in many different countries. There are quite a few locations which can offer the surgery at less than half the price of a similar procedure in the UK. However, it is worth remembering that flight costs and hotel accommodation are not included in the basic price. Thus, if the surgery is e.g. on another continent, the flight price may start to erode some of the savings made. A second important point is that sitting for many hours on an aircraft after a labiaplasty may cause some considerable discomfort.

Some women choose to combine the labiaplasty with a holiday, so in this case a more exotic destination could fit the bill. As one of the more popular long haul destinations for labiaplasty, Thailand prices are very reasonable at around £1500 and spending two weeks on a Thai beach after surgery may appeal to some people.

Other more exotic destinations include Mexico (around £1800), India (around £1100) and the Philippines (from about £500). It is probably wise to only choose this destinations when combining the surgery with a holiday.

Labiaplasty Reviews

As with any cosmetic surgery, potential patients should be as knowledgeable as possible about the procedure. This ensures that they know exactly what the options are and they can ask pertinent questions of the surgeon, in order to ensure that the end result is precisely what they wanted.

A lot of very good information is available on the Internet, either on various medical sites or on a labiaplasty forum which often feature information from women who have actually had the surgery. Labiaplasty reviews and labiaplasty pictures are also a good place to start. Pictures before and after labiaplasty will show what is actually possible, as well as, in some cases, what can go wrong. When searching for labiaplasty reviews, UK sites are probably more helpful if you are a UK resident. Sometimes there may be differences in what is available, for example, between the UK and the USA. There are not so many dedicated labiaplasty forums, however interesting articles and labiaplasty testimonials can be found on sites such as Cysters, Mumsnet and The Student Room.

Summary

Labiaplasty is surgery usually performed on the labia miniora to shorten them. In order to produce a neat and tidy vulval area a clitoral hood reduction may also be required. Occasionally there may be medical reasons why this surgery is performed and, in these cases, operations of this kind may be funded by the NHS, however the majority of operations are undertaken as cosmetic procedures. Some doctors have concerns that women are putting themselves through a needless cosmetic operation, when possibly, psychological counselling could provide a viable alternative.

In medical terms, labiaplasty is a relatively new procedure and the latest innovations include laser and radio wave surgery. Costs in the UK private medical sector start at around £2000 but may be up to £4000. Costs can be quite drastically reduced by having the procedure performed overseas. Both Poland and Turkey are good choices although other destinations are available. Our consultants are trained to find the best destination and clinic for each individual. Please give us a call.

References

The Labia Library – http://www.labialibrary.org.au

Labiaplasty – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labiaplasty

US Cosmetic Surgery Data Bank – https://www.surgery.org/sites/default/files/ASAPS-Stats2017.pdf

Is Your Teenager Asking About Labiaplasty? – https://www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org/popular-posts/teen-labiaplasty/

Sutureless Laser Labiaplasty of Labia Minora – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2050116121000866

Non-surgical vs surgical labiaplasty: better outcomes with fewer complications – https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317373803_Non-surgical_vs_surgical_labiaplasty_better_outcomes_with_fewer_complications

Labiaplasty: Trim or Wedge? – https://www.onginstitute.com/blog/female-rejuvenation/labiaplasty-trim-wedge/

Vaginoplasty and Labiaplasty – https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/vaginoplasty-and-labiaplasty-procedures

What to expect at every stage of your labiaplasty – https://www.plasticsurgery.org/news/blog/what-to-expect-at-every-stage-of-your-labiaplasty

Everything You Need to Know About Labiaplasty – https://www.healthline.com/health/labiaplasty

What to Expect After Labiaplasty Recovery in Week 1 – https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-to-expect-after-labiaplasty-week-1-2709835

What to Expect After Labiaplasty: Week 3 – https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-to-expect-after-labiaplasty-week-3-2709836

Botched Labiaplasty Is Common. Doctors Explain Why—and How to Avoid a Bad Outcome – https://www.realself.com/news/how-to-avoid-botched-labiaplasty

Indications, Techniques and Complications of Labiaplasty – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4544281/

Labiaplasty Revision Surgery due to Botched, or Labiaplasty Gone Wrong – https://www.labiaplastysurgeon.com/dt_procedures/labiaplasty-revision-surgery/

British Society for Paediatric & Adolescent Gynaecology-Position Statement-
labial reduction surgery (labiaplasty) on adolescents – https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/news/britspag_labiaplastypositionstatement.pdf

The Medical Register – https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/the-medical-register/a-guide-to-the-medical-register

Care Quality Commission – https://www.cqc.org.uk

BAPRAS Register – https://www.bapras.org.uk/home/find-a-member

BAAPS Register – https://baaps.org.uk/patients/surgeons/

NHS Vulval Surgery – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cosmetic-procedures/labiaplasty/

Alternatives to Labiaplasty – https://www.healthcentre.org.uk/cosmetic-surgery/labiaplasty-alternative.html

Anne Beckett

In the UK Anne was a professionally qualified trainer with many years of experience in the training industry. She mainly worked in the travel, tourism and leisure industries (including Thomas Cook and British Airways) as well as in other sectors.

Since moving to Poland  twelve years ago, Anne has become involved in other business sectors – teaching English as a foreign language and translating documents from Polish into English. She specialises particularly,  in  medical translations and  works closely with dentists, cardiologists and neurologists in translating and preparing articles for publication. She has also trained as a practitioner in the field of neuro-linguistic programming and is a qualified hypnotherapist.

Any spare time is spent renovating the house in Poland which Anne bought some years ago.

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