The rejuvenation of the female genitalia or labiaplasty is one of the fastest growing plastic surgery procedures in the United States. Due to the internet and popular culture, women have become more aware of procedures which can improve the appearance of their genital area. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons revealed recently that the number of labiaplasties performed increased by 48% compared to the previous year. Women often choose to undergo a labiaplasty because they are unhappy with the appearance of their private parts, uncomfortable due to the friction caused by sexual intercourse, exercising or wearing fitted clothing, and most importantly not confident about their body.

The Definition

Labiaplasty is a cosmetic procedure to improve the appearance of the female genitalia. A labiaplasty often focuses on the labia minora (inner labia), labia majora (outer labia), the clitoral hood, or a combination of areas. The procedure will be tailored to your individual anatomic concerns as each woman’s body is different. Many patients who present to my office complain of a large labia minora (the inner fold of the genitalia). The labia minora may be elongated causing it to hang beneath the labia majora (outer fold of the genitalia) leading to irritation from underwear and bathing suits and anxiety in intimate situations. Patients also often do not like the darker color. To reduce the labia minora, I will perform a wedge or edge labiaplasty in which the excess tissue or darkened edge is removed. For some women, the labia majora is hypertrophied or too large. This area can be reduced by elliptically removing a section of tissue so that the scar is hidden between the two folds of the genitalia. Thirdly, women present with excess skin along the top of the clitoris. The redundant skin or clitoral hood can also be trimmed to decrease bulkiness in this area.

The Candidate

Many women explain to me that the size or shape of their labia is something that has bothered them for many years, often starting in puberty or after the trauma of childbirth. Women state that they are uncomfortable in clothes, have difficulty performing exercise, and feel anxious in intimate situations. Most women present because they do not like the appearance of a hanging labia minora beyond the labia majora or the outer lips of the genitalia. Some women find that there is an excessive bulkiness when they wear bathing suits or fitted clothing; leading them to avoid revealing clothing. Often athletes present to the office who complain of rubbing and irritation when running, swimming, or cycling. In severe cases, women experience skin irritation and rashes.


A labiaplasty is both a cosmetic and functional change to the female genitalia. During the procedure, areas of excess skin and tissue are removed improving the appearance of your genitalia and reducing areas that may be painful due to frictional forces. A labiaplasty focuses on the labia minora, labia majora, clitoral hood or a combination of areas. Each procedure is tailored to the patient’s concerns.

Edge or Wedge

The two commonly discussed procedures for reducing the labia minora are the edge technique in which the skin on the edge of the labia minora is trimmed and the wedge technique in which a pie-shaped excision is made incorporating prominent tissue. Both techniques have benefits when the anatomy is appropriate. The edge technique is excellent for patients who are trying to remove hyperpigmentation or darkening along the edge of the labia minora. The wedge technique may be superior if only a third of the labia is enlarged. Dr. Doft will discuss which is the best technique for your body.


    There are two ways to perform a labiaplasty: the wedge and edge methods. When the wedge procedure is employed, a pie-shaped piece of skin is removed, allowing for a more conspicuous scar and minimal changes to the edge of the labia minora. When the edge technique is used, the incision is less concealed from frictional forces but allows for the removal of hyperpigmentation or darkening along the edge.

    Loss of Volume

    As women age, they lose fat from not only their faces and breasts but also there is an atrophy of the labia majora. This creates a droopy and saggy appearance of the labia majora or outer, more visible lip of the female genitalia. Many of these women are postmenopausal but some have lost a significant amount of weight or have poor tissue elasticity. Sex may become more uncomfortable due to the loss of natural padding along the pubic bones. As more and more women shave or wax their pubic hair, the new wrinkling is obvious. Some women opt to fill this area with fat grafting, which involves removing fat from one area of the body and re-injecting it to areas that need plumping. The fat will lead to a fuller, more rejuvenated appearance and the results will be permanent unlike dermal fillers.


    Having a labiaplasty does not affect your ability to become pregnant or to have a vaginal delivery. Many women present to my office because of physical discomfort or unhappiness with their appearance. Many of these women have never had children.


    Labiaplasty does not affect sexual sensation, enjoyment or the ability to have an orgasm. Most women derive sexual enjoyment from clitoral stimulation. The clitoris is not operated on and there should be no changes to enjoyment from this procedure.

    The Details

    The surgery may be performed under local anesthesia or with the addition of light sedation. The procedure takes one hour to complete. After the surgery, your incision will be covered by bacitracin and a maxi-pad will be used as a dressing. For patients who opt to have the procedure performed in the office under local anesthetic, you will be fine to travel home immediately afterwards. For those who choose to have the surgery in a surgical suite, it will take you about one to two hours to feel fully awake.

    The Recovery

    Most women relax at home for two to three days. You will wear a maxi-pad with ointment on it for several days and can use cold packs for comfort. Due to the acidic nature of urine, most women use a peri-bottle or water bottle to cleanse themselves while and after using the bathroom. Most swelling occurs in the first two weeks after surgery. Because swelling is gravity dependent, you should consider propping your pelvis up on a pillow while resting. Your sutures will be dissolvable. You can return to the gym in two to three weeks. You can return to having sex in six weeks.

    What is the first step?

    If you are considering a labiaplasty, please call our office at 212.600.4109 to arrange for a consultation. Our New York City practice accommodates out of town and international patients who need to travel in for surgery as well as those who are local to Manhattan.

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    RYE, NY

    Thank you so very much for your professionalism and wonderful work you did. I cannot begin to express my gratitude and appreciation for helping me “through the process”. I feel like a new person!


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    Dr Doft’s care was excellent. Very patient, flexible and understanding. This made the process much easier.


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