New study identifies ‘normal vulva’ for labiaplasty procedures

labiaplasty surgery

Researchers at a Swiss hospital have spent the last couple of years examining over 650 women to establish guidelines for external female genitalia in light of the increase in popularity of labiaplasty surgery. What was interesting was that it was found that there seemed to be no ‘normal’ that could be assigned, meaning that your feelings about and expectations of how you should vulva looks, should always be personal to you.

From August 2015 to August 2017, 657 women were studied at the Cantonal Hospital in Lucerne, Switzerland; their labia major and minora were measured as well as their clitoral gland and the length of the vulva. All data was considered against their age and BMI. The researchers found that there was so much variety in terms of the physical appearance of a healthy vulva that it was impossible to establish normal guidelines.

So, why would you want a labiaplasty?

It’s important that women know that there is no ‘perfect’ vulva they should be aspiring to, but there are many reasons why women choose to undergo labiaplasty surgery. Women may experience discomfort and pain from the twisting and tugging of the labia minora when they are having intercourse or playing sport. They may also experience itching and irritation and some women may be very self-conscious about the size and shape of their labia when they are in certain clothes such as gym leggings or swimsuits.

Pregnancy and childbirth can often change the shape, size or colour of the labia minora and many women wish to undergo surgery to restore the appearance of their vulva.

What does a labiaplasty entail?

A labiaplasty aims to reduce the size of the labia minora, particularly if they hang below the labia majora, or outer area of the vulva. It can also reduce asymmetry which can be common. A labiaplasty is performed under a general anaesthetic – it is a relatively short procedure so is performed as a day-case procedure.

Mr Paul Tulley’s aim is always to produce a very natural appearance after surgery and any scarring will be hidden in the natural folds of the labia, preserving the outer edge of the labia. The procedures should not affect clitoral sensitivity.

Recovery is also typically straightforward. Surgical pads are won and changed regularly and we will give you comprehensive advice on how to care for the area and maintain hygiene. Topical antibiotic ointment and oral antibiotics are prescribed for the first week or so. Any mild swelling should quickly dissipate and the stitches are absorbable so will drop out in the first couple of weeks. We will also give you instructions on when you can resume sexual intercourse and exercise.

We avoid terms such as ‘designer vagina surgery’ and it’s great that studies such as the Swiss one reinforce the belief that there is no perfect vagina. However, for women that are uncomfortable or self-conscious because of the appearance of their vulva, a labiaplasty can be a fantastic procedure, greatly boosting self-esteem. Call 020 7118 6887 to book a consultation and find out more.