Female genital reshaping (or labia reduction/labiaplasty)

Purpose:

To change the size and shape of the labia.

The procedure:

Female genital reshaping is a surgical procedure that normally takes place under general anaesthetic, or local anaesthetic plus sedation. The exact nature of the operation depends on the desired result and what the surgeon recommends, but it can last up to one hour.

Standard genital reshaping simply means reducing the size of the inner labia (the inner genital lips). To do this, the surgeon will cut away the unwanted labia tissue to make the desired shape. Alternatively, they can remove a wedge-shaped section of the labia, leaving the front intact and removing the tissue from behind. This means there is no change in the colour of the labia and makes the surgery less noticeable.

Some surgeons use a laser instead of a scalpel to reduce bleeding.

You may be required to stay in hospital overnight and will need 1 week off work to rest. A high standard of hygiene is important and the sutures will be dissolvable.

The results:

The labia will be reshaped to the desired look. The results should be permanent.

The risks:

General risks associated with surgery - see Considering cosmetic surgery?

After the surgery, the genital area will be swollen and painful and it is therefore likely that you will be unable to have sexual intercourse for six weeks. There is also the risk of infection, permanent colour change and loss of sensation.

Before you start:

Female genital reshaping is not the same as gender reassignment - changing from a man to a woman - if you are interested in gender reassignment, you should talk to your doctor. Female genital reshaping will not make your vagina smaller or tighter.

Also see:

Vaginal tightening surgery

Procedure information is copyright Department of Health (http://www.dh.gov.uk. Reproduced under the terms of the Click-Use Licence.