Risk and Safety Implications of Labiaplasty

5 min read

Risk of Labiaplasty

As more women empower themselves to make changes to their bodies with plastic surgery, there’s been a rise in interest in labiaplasty, a procedure that reduces the inner labia. Labia minora reduction is performed to address the form of the labia (to make the labia smaller and more aesthetically pleasing) and the function of the labia (to decrease pain and discomfort that occurs from large labia).  

Just like the case of reducing extra skin anywhere on the body, a labia minora reduction poses little to no permanent risk. The true risk of a labiaplasty depends on the skill of the surgeon. Period. Therefore your only task is to find a genuine labiaplasty expert: a doctor who has performed hundreds and hundreds of labiaplasty procedures. 

Because I perform almost all of my labiaplasty surgeries under local anesthetic, the risks of anesthesia are virtually zero.

For patients who desire twilight sedation, an IV can be placed to drift you off to sleep during the case. My expert anesthetists are exceptional at what they do and the risks of anesthesia are minimal.

An Overview of Labiaplasty

A labiaplasty in an expert’s hands really has two parts. Part one is the labia minora reduction and part two is the clitoral hood reduction. Both of these tissues require a decrease in size to create a balanced appearance of the vulva. These two procedures are related and are able to be performed at the same time. 

One cosmetic goal of the labiaplasty Surgery is to “hide” the inner labia, such that only the outer labia are visible when standing. Another goal is to decrease the amount of dark and rough edge to the labia. For some women, the goals are all functional in nature, and these women desire to eliminate chafing, pulling, and pinching of the labia minora in clothing and with exercise or intercourse. 

Labiaplasty Surgery Side Effects

The side effects of a labiaplasty in my practice are all short-term. For you, that means pain in the early recovery. Over the first several days. The possibility of a yeast infection and susceptible individuals spotting after the surgery and swelling. Beyond that, I have not encountered any long-term side effects in any of my patients. That means in over 300 labiaplasty surgeries I have zero patients who have: pain with intercourse. Painful scars. Changes in the sensation of the labia or clitoris. Problems with orgasm. Bleeding after surgery is so rare that I have seen it only once. In that case, the patient came back to surgery and we easily cauterized the bleeding in my surgery center and sent her back home to recover. This makes the labiaplasty surgery, my “best” surgery in terms of having almost no true complications. Because all of your sutures are hidden, the scarring is almost nothing but a fold. 

Common Postoperative Side Effects

  • Yeast infection (week 1 or 2 only)
  • Spotting
  • Bruising 
  • Swelling 
  • Pain (first 48 hours)

Long-Term Side Effects

  • Nearly invisible scars
  • Small chance of healing problems or separation
  • Zero sensation changes or problems with orgasm 
  • Pain relief 
  • Improved self-confidence 
  • Possible asymmetry or need for touch-up revision

Management and Mitigation

At the risk of sounding over-confident, this is the sole job of your surgeon. For my part, I can confidently say that you are at an extremely low if not zero risk of long-term side effects. If there are folds or residual prominent areas that still bother you at 6 months, we can revise them. In the case of separation, most don’t require any revision surgery. Yet if there are issues with symmetry or shape, I am as always at your service. 

 Risks of Labiaplasty

The risks of labiaplasty are related to surgery and to your well-being after surgery. Some women who have botched or poorly performed plastic surgery have feelings of regret or shame afterward. Do not let this happen to you. While I am not trying to make you feel more nervous, I have seen this happen many times. I can fix only some of these problems. The main risk of a poorly performed labiaplasty surgery is an amputation. 

Surgical Risks

The most feared is an amputation. In this case, the labia minora has been completely removed. The labia minora creates a seal between the vagina and the outside world. This helps promote the proper ph balance of the vagina and protects the urinary tract from infection. The labia minora also have key sensory and functional aspects with intercourse and should not be removed, despite some doctors claiming to perform the “Barbie” procedure. 

Some women who have an amputation can still be reconstructed. I have performed several labia minora reconstructions using access tissue from the clitoral hood. Doctors who perform amputations often neglect to remove or reduce the clitoral hood in any way. This allows the clitoral hood to be used as a flap to re-create the labia minora when they have been amputated.

Emotional and Psychological Risks

Emotional and psychological risks of labiaplasty are primarily related to botched procedures. As I mentioned, while I have seen these from outside surgeons, I have never created a botched labiaplasty result. In order to avoid this greatest psychological and emotional risk, please just come and see me. I will take great care of you.

How To Minimize Potential Risks

To avoid these risks of labiaplasty find an expert labiaplasty surgeon. How do you know? They have hundreds of photos videos and reviews. AND you like their photos! 

Safety Measures and Precautions for Labiaplasty

  • Don’t perform an amputation or Barbie procedure 
  • Leave about 1 centimeter of labia minora
  • Reduce the hood in a balanced way
  • Allow the patient to choose their preferred anesthesia technique to avoid emotional stress or discomfort 

While many patients trust their obstetricians and gynecologists with their women’s health issues, plastic surgery is different. If your gynecologist specializes in labiaplasty, that will be their entire practice and they will have plenty of photos and results for you to review. “Do your research” means look for photos videos and reviews of your surgeon. The rest is up to them!

Thanks for taking the time to read this article. As I put in every single stitch in each labiaplasty surgery (about 90 in total) I wrote every word of this article. (Zero help from chat GPT :))

Liberation Awaits.

Schedule Your Consult

Request Pricing

  We will privately email you to help answer any questions you may have about the labiaplasty procedure by Dr. Oppenheimer.