This medical procedure (sometimes spelled labioplasty) involves the creation or reshaping of the labia (lips). Labiaplasty is sometimes performed to revise anomalies and congenital conditions such as large inner labia, as well as to repair the area following disease or injury, especially from childbirth.

As with other procedures, like plastic surgery of the nose (rhinoplasty), labiaplasty may be undertaken for functional reasons, aesthetic reasons, or a combination of the two.

Labiaplasty evokes very strong emotional responses (both pro and con) far more often than more common procedures like rhinoplasty. There is considerable controversy regarding surgery on some patients, notably women who are worried that their labia are not "normal."

In the case of transsexual women, labiaplasty is frequently the second part of a two-stage vaginoplasty, where labia and a clitoral hood are created. This is often performed a few months after the first part of the procedure. In some cases, labiaplasty is an elective procedure to improve appearance after a one-stage vaginoplasty.

Labiaplasty is an outpatient procedure usually performed under local anesthesia. After surgery, women may experience some mild discomfort and swelling, which usually disappears completely after 1-2 weeks.

My labiaplasty experience (1998)

I had labiaplasty performed about three months after my vaginoplasty in 1998. It was done in Dr. Meltzer's office under local anesthesia.

I arrived in the early afternoon, and I had been expecting to have things set up for a correction of my right breast implant (which was too high). However, Dr. Meltzer had not been informed of my concerns, so I ended up waiting quite a while as they got the proper equipment into the office.

Labiaplasty for me was a breeze, because I had just undergone the implant repositioning under a local anesthetic. Very unpleasant set of anesthetic shots into the nipple.

The shots around the vulva didn't exactly feel great, either, but I had taken some Valium earlier in the afternoon, so I was in and out during the actual procedure.

It's a long procedure, because there are a ton of stitches to do.

However, it was over pretty quickly, and I was off to Eastmoreland for the evening.

The next day I left the hospital feeling a little sore (mostly in my breast). I was able to visit friends and go on a ride in a friend's plane that weekend, so I wasn't too terribly incapacitated.

While the area looked really awful (kind of like a giant blackberry), recovery was basically unremarkable. It did make dilating unpleasant for a while. I'm still not very "lippy" as far as labia go, but it's basically acceptable. Scars healed fine and all that.

With Dr. Meltzer's procedure, it's definitely necessary to get labiaplasty to have a normal-looking vulva.

While there was a certain sense of completion following the procedure, I certainly wasn't "done" with transition. I still had a lot more socialization to get under my belt, and it was well over a year before I felt OK enough to be with a sex partner. I'd say it too a couple of years to feel really healed.

Links (more to come) (note: graphic images) (note: graphic images) (note: graphic images) (note: graphic images) (note: graphic images) (note: graphic images) (note: graphic images)