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Labiaplasty (LAY bee ah plass tee) is a surgery done to remove excess labial tissue (the folds on each side of the female genitals).  Too much of this tissue can cause pain or discomfort to a female because of rubbing or chafing. 

Signs and symptoms

Most girls and young women do not have any symptoms or discomfort from labial hypertrophy (more labial skin than usual).  Less commonly, women may have irritation, discomfort, chronic infections and pain during exercise and sexual intercourse.

Preparing for surgery

Pre-admission Testing will call you from 1 to 3 days before surgery to give you information on:

  • What your child should do at home to get ready for her surgery.
  • When and what she may eat and drink before surgery.

If you have not received a call by 5:00PM the day before surgery, please call 614-722-2677 for information.


Labiaplasty can be done as a day surgery under anesthesia. The procedure takes about one hour. The child will be on her back with her legs in foot rests (stirrups), positioned at the edge of the surgical table. During surgery, the surgeon will make small incisions to remove excess tissue and reduce and reshape the labia. Your child’s surgeon will use stiches that dissolve. Surgical consent will be obtained on the day of surgery.

It is best to have someone who can remain in the waiting room while your child is in surgery and who will there to drive her home after recovery.

After surgery

Most children and young women go home later on the day of their surgeries.

Your child’s surgeon may give you an estrogen cream for her to apply to the area where the stitches are.  She will use this cream at home 2 times a day for 7 days. The cream helps to heal the wound. There are minimal side effects with this medicine when it is used for only a week. 

What to do and watch for at home

  • The first day after surgery your child should use ice packs on the area for 15 minutes at a time. Repeat every 1 to 2 hours. 
  • Start sitz baths 24 hours after surgery. A person takes a sitz bath soaking in a tub of warm water.  Nothing is added to the water (no soaps, bubble bath, baking soda or salts).  Your child should stay in the bath for 10 to 15 minutes 2 times every day for 7 to 10 days.
  • Your child should not shower for the first 24 hours after the surgery. When she does begin to shower, she should let warm water and mild soap run over the labia and not rub the area.  To dry the area, gently pat with a soft, clean towel.
  • Have your child wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes to prevent irritation.
  • If there is pain while sitting, your child can use a padded seat or cushion that is indented in the center. This will help reduce the pressure that is placed directly on the genital area.
  • Your daughter’s surgeon may prescribe Ibuprofen or Tylenol® for pain or discomfort. Give the dose of Ibuprofen or Tylenol as directed on the medicine bottle according to your child’s age.
  • Your daughter’s surgeon may also prescribe:
    • Narcotic pain medicines to be taken by mouth. (Your child should not operate heavy machinery, use alcohol or make important decisions while taking narcotic pain medicine.)
    • Topical gel to be applied to the outer vaginal area. (This gel is used to numb the skin to help reduce the pain and discomfort.)
  • Stitches that were used for this procedure will dissolve on their own. They will not need to be removed.


For the first 4 weeks, tell your child not to:

  • play sports
  • exercise
  • swim

For the first 4 to 6 weeks, tell your child not to:

  • have sexual activity
  • use tampons

When to call the surgeon

There may be some bleeding or spotting after surgery.  This bleeding is usually not heavy and is normal as the wound heals.  If bleeding becomes heavy or you have concerns about the incision (such as incision separation, bleeding or pus), contact your daughter’s surgeon.

Contact your child’s surgeon for any of the following:

  • fever of 100.4 degrees F or more
  • separation of the incision
  • pus from the stitched area
  • heavy bleeding from the stitched area
  • drainage from the stitched area
  • black or blue discoloration or bruising of the skin
  • stitches falling out
  • pain not relieved by the pain medicine the surgeon prescribed
  • any other concerns or questions after surgery

Follow-up appointments

  • Your child’s follow-up appointment is 2 to 4 weeks after surgery to make sure she is healing properly.
  • Your child can expect to have regular follow-up appointments with her surgeon.
  • Write down all of your questions as you think of them. Bring this list with you when you see the surgeon.
  • Be sure to call your child’s surgeon’s office if you cannot keep an appointment.

Labiaplasty (PDF)

HH-I-450 4/19 | Copyright 2019, Nationwide Children’s Hospital