Labiaplasty is an operation that addresses issues relating to the appearance and day-to-day symptoms relating to the labia. Many patients suffer from rubbing, chafing or difficulty surrounding personal hygiene when the labia minora (the inner lips of the vulva) is longer. In addition, the labia minora may be more difficult to conceal in swim- and gym-wear,
The two most commonly used approaches to reduce the height of the labia minora are the ‘trim’ and ‘wedge’ techniques. When I am examining the patient, there are a number of individual features that I will discuss with them to help decide which technique will best meet their goals. The examination is done whilst the patient holds a hand-held mirror so I can demonstrate the features during the examination itself.
What is the difference between the ‘trim’ and ‘wedge’ technique?
A ‘trim’ technique trims a cuff of skin away from the outer edge of the labia minora and leaves the final scar on this edge. Due to the natural irregular edge that makes up the labia minora, this scar is almost always well concealed.
A ‘wedge’ technique takes.a V-shaped wedge of skin away from the labia minora in the area where it is at its maximal height. The resulting scar, therefore, travels down the inner and outer side of the labia minora and is well concealed.
Key features I look for during the examination:
Firstly, I recognise that there can be anxiety associated with any intimate examination. At the clinic, we make every effort to ensure your comfort and dignity is preserved throughout the examination.
Single or bilateral surgery? In patients who are only seeking reduction of one labia minora a wedge technique allows the unique characteristics of the labial edge to be preserved to give the best symmetry. If the edges between the two sides are already fairly different, then a trim technique may be more appropriate.
Edge appearance. If a patient has a smooth, uniform labia minora edge, I aim to try and preserve this by performing a wedge excision. However, those who have a thicker, ruggous labia minora with irregular colouration are often best served with a trim labiaplasty.
Extent of over-elongated labia minora. In patients who have a excess height in the labia minora along its entire length, I usually recommend a trim labiaplasty. If the excess labia minora is focused to the either the upper or lower part of the labia minora, a wedge technique can address this well.
What to do with clitoral hood skin:
I also look to check whether there is also excess skin within the natural fold of skin that covers the clitoris (clitoral hood). If there is too much skin in this area, I will recommend that we consider taking a very thin section of this skin away to help ensure a well-balanced result. This skin removal is kept well away from the clitoris itself, and is kept very thin to avoid damaging any of the nerves that run towards the clitoris.
The final decision on which technique to use depends on what the examination shows and your personal preference.
To find out more, please book in for a consultation.