An Intimate Nip-Tuck: Labioplasty


by Dolores Kent, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.
September 19, 2007

Many women today are very conscious of the appearance and functionality of the vaginal area because today’s fashions dictate more body hugging and revealing clothing like thongs and abbreviated swimwear. Moreover, as sexual pleasure for women becomes a more permissible topic, the vaginal area -- like other areas of the body -- can now be discussed openly.

Excess Tissue:

Labioplasty (sometimes spelled labiaplasty) is a surgical procedure which trims, reshapes or repairs uneven, enlarged, or damaged labia minora – also known as the lips of the vagina. The procedure can also involve:

  • Removing excess tissue from around the clitoris, or
  • Recontouring or reducing the labia majora – the outer lips of the vaginal area.

Embarrassment and Concern:

Labia are often damaged during childbirth and inappropriately repaired or not repaired at all. Until the openness of today’s society came about, women did not feel comfortable discussing the embarrassment they felt about vaginal openings being asymmetrical and less beautiful. Some women are born with:

  • Uneven labia
  • Large labia
  • Gigantic labia
  • Or some other structural defect that has caused great embarrassment or concern over the years

But traditionally, nothing could be done. Moreover, few doctors have been sensitive enough to listen to their patients’ complaints. Most doctors have either told their patients not to worry about it or have very crudely repaired the area without much thought toward aesthetics and beauty.

Cosmetically Pleasing:

Patients today tell me they want to be cosmetically pleasing in every way and in every area. So why not the vaginal area also? Just because few, if any, see this area, is no argument against seeking correctional surgery. Women now want correction for a variety of reasons (and for very good ones) for every area of the body. Some of my patients have told me enlarged labia can became irritated by vigorous activity like bike or motorcycle riding, horseback riding and even sitting for long periods of time. Professional dancers, aerobics instructors, models and at least one marathon runner have sought relief with a labioplasty.

Oral Sex:

Yet another reason is oral sex. It is becoming a more acceptable form of sexual pleasure and is now more openly discussed. Consequently, women are not only concerned about the way their labia look and respond, they are also concerned that excess skin over the clitoris will inhibit the achievement of a satisfactory climax. The effects of aging that can leave the labia minora or majora looking limp, thin and, well, old, can be discomforting. Enlarged labia may also interfere with penetration and comfort during sex.

Viginal Rejuvenation:

With cosmetic labiaplasty, we can provide the look you want in a variety of ways, either by trimming, reshaping, or transferring fat. There are numerous techniques for doing this, some of which are better than others. But the overall goal is to provide the patient with normally functioning, pleasing-to-the-eye-labia that will reduce any sense of insecurity a woman may feel. Sometimes, this procedure can be combined with vaginal rejuvenation which narrows the diameter of the vagina and tightens the vaginal opening.

The procedure, which takes about an hour, can be performed under local anesthesia or the patient may elect to be put to sleep. In our center, we use a laser to improve the precision with which the procedure is performed to provide improved outcomes. We discuss at length with the patients exactly what appearance and result they are seeking in order to provide the best possible outcome.

If you are concerned about the appearance of your labia, please call our office for a free consultation so we can show you how our superior and exacting service can meet your most personal needs in an all-women office.

About the doctor Dolores R. Kent, M.D. received a B.A. in Biology from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and her M.D. degree from Harvard Medical School. She is board certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Dr. Kent offers over 20 years of surgical experience, and is on staff at several Los Angeles area hospitals.

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