Cosmetic procedures – Labiaplasty (vulval surgery) – NHS

A labiaplasty is surgery to reduce the size of the labia minora, the flaps of skin on either side of the vaginal opening.

It should not be done on girls under 18 because the labia continue to develop beyond puberty into young adulthood.

Reading: How to get insurance to pay for labiaplasty

Some women want a labiaplasty because they don’t like the way their lips look. but it is completely normal to have visible skin folds around the opening of the vagina. In most cases, it doesn’t cause any problems, which is why labiaplasty is rarely available on the nhs.

Learn more about how puberty can change the appearance of your vulva (pdf, 2.73mb).

what to think about before undergoing labiaplasty

Getting a labiaplasty is a big decision that you should consider carefully. it can be expensive and carries a number of risks.

There’s also no guarantee that you’ll get the result you hoped for, and it won’t necessarily make you feel better about your body.

If you’re thinking about having labiaplasty, talk to your primary care doctor first.

You may have a condition that is bothering you that can be treated. or there may be a reason why the operation is not right for you.

Your GP may recommend that you speak with a counselor or psychologist before committing to surgery.

Learn more about deciding if cosmetic surgery is right for you.

how much does a labiaplasty cost?

In the UK, a labiaplasty costs between £2,000 and £4,000, plus the cost of any consultations or follow-up care which may not be included in the price.

you usually can’t get a labiaplasty on the nhs

normally, a labiaplasty is not available on the nhs. but it may be offered in some circumstances, for example, if the labia are abnormal, to repair tears after childbirth, or to remove cancerous tissue if a woman has vulvar cancer.

choosing a surgeon

if you are having labiaplasty in england, check with the care quality commission (cqc) to see if the hospital or clinic is registered with them.

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all independent clinics and hospitals offering cosmetic surgery in england must be registered with cqc.

Be careful when searching the internet for labiaplasty surgery. some clinics may pay to advertise their services on search listings.

verify that the surgeon is registered with the general medical council (gmc). they must be registered in the register of specialists and have a license to practice.

also check the british association of aesthetic and plastic reconstructive surgeons (bapras) or the british association of aesthetic plastic surgeons (baaps) to see if the surgeon is a “full member” in the register of plastic surgery specialists .

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always make an appointment to meet the surgeon before the procedure.

ask your surgeon:

  • about your qualifications and experience
  • how many labiaplasty operations have they performed
  • how many operations have they performed where there have been complications
  • what kind of follow-up should you expect if things go wrong
  • what are your patient satisfaction rates
  • read more about how to choose who will perform your cosmetic procedure.

    what does a labiaplasty involve

    Labiaplasty can be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with sedation.

    involves shortening or reshaping the vaginal lips. unwanted tissue is cut away with a scalpel or laser. the loose edge can be sewn with fine dissolving stitches.

    The entire procedure lasts between 1 and 2 hours.

    You may be able to go home the same day.

    recovery

    You may need up to 2 weeks off work to recover. it may take a couple of months for the skin to fully heal.

    during this time you need to:

    • keep the area clean and infection-free
    • wear loose underwear and clothing to avoid chafing
    • avoid sex for about 6 weeks
    • avoid physical activity for 6 to 12 weeks
    • use pads instead of tampons for a few weeks
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      Your surgeon can give you more specific advice to follow.

      side effects

      It is normal after labiaplasty to have pain, bruising, and swelling for up to 2 weeks.

      During this time, urinating and sitting can also be uncomfortable. You will be given pain medicine to help with this.

      what could go wrong?

      a labiaplasty can occasionally result in:

      • bleeding
      • infection
      • tissue healing
      • reduced sensitivity of the genitals
      • any type of operation also carries a small risk of:

        • a blood clot in a vein
        • an allergic reaction to the anesthetic
        • Your surgeon should explain the likelihood of these risks and complications, and how they would be treated if you did have them.

          what to do if you have problems

          Cosmetic surgery can sometimes go wrong and the results may not be as expected.

          Speak with the surgeon at the hospital or clinic where you received treatment if you have complications after undergoing labiaplasty or if you are not satisfied with the results.

          You can contact the cqc if you have any concerns about your care. If necessary, you can file a complaint about a doctor with the GMC.

          the royal college of surgeons also has more information and advice on what to do if things go wrong.

          more information

          baaps: genital cosmetic surgery

          bapras: female genital tract surgery

          royal college of surgeons: cosmetic surgery frequently asked questions

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