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Genetics, pregnancy and the natural aging process can all affect the shape and appearance of a woman's intimate anatomy. Elongated inner or outer labia can sometimes cause pain or discomfort when exercising, during intercourse or even when simply wearing slim-fitting clothing. Labial appearance can also cause some women to feel self-conscious, affecting their romantic relationships.
Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that reduces enlarged labia to achieve a smoother, more comfortable look and feel. There are two common approaches to labiaplasty surgery – the trim technique and the wedge technique.
The trim technique remains the most commonly used surgical method to perform labiaplasty. This approach involves creating an incision that removes the outer edge of the inner labia, making the inner labia even with the outer labia (or slightly receded).
One of the benefits of this labiaplasty technique is that it trims away the naturally darkest part of the labia. For many women, removal of the darker edge is one of the cosmetic reasons why they choose to have labiaplasty.
The most common problem with trim labiaplasty, however, is that if particular care is not taken during the procedure, there is often an awkward, uneven transition at the clitoral bulb where the two "trimmed" sides meet.
The wedge technique is a newer alternative to trim labiaplasty. Using this method, your plastic surgeon removes a V-shaped "wedge" from both sides of the labia and then stitches the remaining edges together.
Although the wedge technique avoids the problem of smoothly transitioning at the clitoral bulb, it typically leaves the darkest parts of the labia intact, which may be undesirable for some women.
The best way to determine which surgical approach might make the most sense for you is to clearly communicate your goals with your plastic surgeon and work together to select the option that will best meet your individual needs.
Remember, too, that labiaplasty can include a reduction of the outer (majora) labia, inner (minor) labia or both, depending on your natural anatomy as well as your overall goals. Because there are so many different possible variables, open discussion with your plastic surgeon is essential to help ensure beautiful, natural-looking results.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.