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Cosmetic Reduction of the Labia Minora

Dr. Loftus has treated numerous women who have elongated labia, and on this page, she shares her experience and recommendations.

Excessive Labia Minora

The labia minora (small labia) are folds of mucosal tissue which can become enlarged due to pregnancy, inflammation, or genetically. Ideally, most women prefer to not see their labia minora. So, when these labia become enlarged and hang below the labia majora, they can create a cosmetic problem, both in intimate settings as well as when wearing swimming suits or tight clothing. They can sometimes also create discomfort during intercourse. For these reasons, women are seeking labiaplasty (labia reduction surgery) in greater numbers than ever.

History of Labia Reduction and Current Techniques

The first labioplasty (also called labiaplasty) operations involved amputation of the excessive labia. This led to problems cosmetically (unnatural appearance) as well as functionally: overly tight vaginal opening, irregularities, pigmentary problems, and other problems. As a result, other operations have been developed. The wedge excision became popular because it addressed the problems of irregularities and color issues, but introduced the potential problems of scar contracture (shortening), creating a notch along the free border of the labia minor, as well as breakdown and open wounds.
Operations to address these problems have included a modification of the wedge excision, called a z-plasty. In the z-plasty wedge excision, the redundant labia to be excised is zig-zagged in such a way as to avoid unnatural tightening, notching, and wound breakdown. Dr. Loftus considers this to be an effective way to achieve the goals of labiaplasty while minimizing the risks of this operation, and it is best suited to women who have centrally elongated labia and who are willing to accept the risk of dehiscence (opening of the suture line).

The images below show before and after examples of labia minora reduction or labiaplasty.
Patient 1
labiaplasty images or surgery to correct excessive labia

Labiaplasty: During and After Surgery

Anesthesia: General or sedation.
Location of operation: Office or hospital.
Length of surgery: 30-60 minutes
Length of stay: Outpatient (home same day).
Discomfort: Mild. Dr Loftus uses long-lasting local anesthetic injections during the procedure so that post-operative discomfort is reduced. Anticipate 2-3 days of prescription pain medication and ice packs.
Swelling: peaks at 1-5 days and improves over 1-2 weeks.
Bruising: Is rare
Bandages: none.
Stitches: Will be absorbable.
Back to work: 3-7 days.
Sex: Wait 6 weeks to ensure complete healing.
Exercise: May be resumed in 2 weeks.
Final result: Will be seen after the swelling has resolved, which will be about 2 weeks to 2 months.

Tips and Traps of Labiaplasty

This procedure involves reduction of the labia minora. If your problem is enlarged labia majora, then you need a different procedure. It is generally not advised to combine both procedures at the same time due to swelling and recovery.


Labiaplasty is a great procedure and results in significant satisfaction. If you are seeking to have this procedure, be sure to see a surgeon who has significant experience with this, as some surgeons remove too much labia, causing problems.

Dr. Loftus

About Dr. Loftus

Dr. Loftus is a female plastic surgeon who is considered a national authority on plastic surgery, having appeared on numerous talk shows as an expert. Her book has become a best-selling book on plastic surgery and has earned her the reputation as a vocal advocate of patient safety, satisfaction, and education in plastic surgery. No wonder her patients have such great things to say about her…
Dr. Loftus standing by staff
My results are amazing - Dr. Loftus is amazing!
My friends can't believe how natural I look!
I had no pain after surgery and recovery was so easy.
The entire experience was fabulous!
I am a nurse who has worked with many doctors, Dr. Loftus is the best!
The care was exceptional and results are incredible!
My results are better than I ever imagined!
Dr. Loftus is a rare surgeon: highly skilled, personable and compassionate!
My experience from start to finish was completely extraordinary!
Awesome results from a skilled and caring doctor.
I love love love Dr. Loftus and everyone in the office!
I've never felt so comfortable and understood in a doctor's office.
I felt so comfortable and barely had any pain at all.
I never knew I could look this good! Thank you Dr. Loftus!!!
Never met such a warm and caring staff anywhere else.
If only every doctor could be like Dr. Loftus, how very fortunate we would be.

Dr. Loftus
on The View

Dr. Loftus
on The Today Show

Dr. Loftus

Dr. Loftus
on Later Today

Dr. Loftus
on Later Today

Dr. Loftus
on CNN

Cincinnati: The Christ Hospital
2139 Auburn Avenue, Suite 201
Cincinnati, OH 45219
(513) 793-4000
5 minutes from downtown Cinci,
At the Christ Medical Office Building

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Northern Kentucky
1881 Dixie Highway, Suite 300
Fort Wright, KY 41011
3 minutes from downtown Cincinnati &
visible from I-71/75

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