It sounds mysterious…and very personal. But labiaplasty – plastic surgery on the labia minora – is becoming more common among women who are unhappy with their vaginal appearance.

Virtually unknown before the mid-1980s, labiaplasty has emerged as a fast-growing, socially accepted technique. In fact, in 2020, almost 10,000 women had the procedure performed.

Labiaplasty has come a long way. But not all plastic surgeons are experienced enough with the procedure. (That’s why it’s essential to choose a great labiaplasty surgeon; more on this later.) 

If you’ve had a botched labiaplasty, or if you’re simply not happy with the results of your surgery, you may want to consider labia revision surgery. Today’s secondary labia reconstruction techniques can give you the results you’re looking for. 

Here’s all about the procedure, questions to ask your surgeon, and what results you can expect.

The Two Most Popular Types of Labia Revision Surgery 

Secondary labia reconstruction can be performed in a variety of different ways. But two stand out as the best way to achieve the size and symmetry patients are looking for.

Here is what each involves.

Central Wedge Technique

This popular and effective technique, invented by genital plastic subspecialist Dr. Gary Alter, involves the following:

  • The surgeon removes a “V” or pie-shaped wedge from along the labia using a scalpel, laser, or other cutting tool. 
  • The incisions are sutured closed, preserving the normal labia edges as much as possible.
  • The result is minimal scarring.

Make sure you choose a plastic surgeon who is an expert in this type of surgery. Done correctly, the central wedge technique can produce very natural-looking, patient-pleasing results.

Trimming Technique

The trimming technique is the original choice of plastic surgeons. The following steps are utilized:

  • The labial edges are trimmed individually using a scalpel, laser, or other cutting tool.
  • The edges are sutured (stitched) closed.
  • The results can be excellent with an experienced labiaplasty specialist. However, there is a risk of over-trimming, for a less natural result.

Which Technique Is Right for You?

The method you choose for your revision depends upon:

  • Your desired result
  • The amount of tissue left over from the previous surgery
  • The skill of your plastic surgeon
  • Other factors specific to your situation (be sure to consult with your plastic surgeon)

How to Choose the Right Doctor for Your Revision Surgery

There are so many options out there. How do you choose?

You can narrow things down by picking a doctor who:

  • Is local to you (you should not drive yourself home after your labiaplasty)
  • Has experience in this type of revision surgery
  • Has excellent reviews
  • Makes you feel comfortable in the office, so you’re more willing to discuss your concerns and call them if there is an issue

The Best Questions to Ask Your Plastic Surgeon

It’s important that you select a qualified plastic surgeon to perform your labia revision surgery. 

One of the best ways to do this is to ask questions. 

Then take the answers into consideration. You want an experienced, caring doctor who has successfully performed secondary labia reconstruction. Here are the top questions to ask.

How Long Have You Been in Practice?

Ask how many years the plastic surgeon has been in practice. Experience counts.

How Many Secondary Labia Surgeries Have You Performed?

In addition to total experience, you want a doctor who is well-versed in this specific type of surgery. Labiaplasty reconstruction is a specialty. Make sure the surgeon is well-versed in secondary labia reconstruction.

Do You Have Before-and-After Photos?

Before-and-afters not only show you how well the doctor performs labiaplasty revisions, but what their own preferred techniques end up looking like. 

May I Read Some Reviews?

Ask for testimonials. If the doctor can only provide one or two, or if they’re unwilling to provide any reviews at all, that’s a big red flag.

Are You Board Certified?

Plastic surgeons must pass rigorous tests to be certified by national surgery boards. Your surgeon should be approved by one or more associations, such as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) or the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).

What Results Can I Expect?

A reputable plastic surgeon should give you a realistic outlook on your results. “Don’t worry, leave it to me” or “you’ll look great” without any backup, such as photos plus consideration for your own personal situation, mean you should look elsewhere.

The Bottom Line

The decision to have a revision following an unsatisfactory labiaplasty is a personal one. You should feel comfortable not only with having the surgery, but the surgeon who will be performing it.

Taking the time now to get to know your labia revision plastic surgeon can mean all the difference – and the result you’ve been looking for all along.