When researching labiaplasty, many women are surprised to find that there are actually two general types of labiaplasty: the wedge method and the trim method. When it comes to choosing the option that will help bring out the best in your body, which is right for you?
Many surgeons these days are performing wedge labiaplasty, for two main reasons:
- A wedge of tissue is removed from the middle area of the labia, preserving the natural labial edge for a less obviously surgical look.
- The wedge method leaves a shorter scar that’s harder to see because it runs across the labia rather than along the edge.
However, there are some potential drawbacks to this approach. The wedge technique generally only addresses the middle one third of the labia and does not treat the irregular dark hyperpigmented edge of the posterior parts of the labia. It also does not treat excessive clitoral hood tissues which commonly accompany prominent labia minora.
In addition, the wedge technique creates a condition where the amount of tissue resected must be balanced against creating wound tension with closure. Excising too much tissue may result in a potential for wound separation, whereas conservative resection may produce insufficient reduction. It takes an experienced surgeon to advise you on the anticipated results.
Until recently, trim labiaplasty was the go-to choice for women who wanted to improve the appearance of their labia. This method, as the name implies, involves trimming the excess labia tissue to a more proportionate size and shape relative to the rest of the vaginal area. Many women appreciate that the trim method removes the existing edges of the inner labia, which can darken with age or following pregnancy.
- The tissue is typically excised from the clitoral hood and along the edge of the labia minora to the vaginal forchette. In this manner, excess tissue from the upper, middle and lower one/thirds of the inner lips can be removed.
- The trim technique leaves a longer scar but it is tension free and commonly is barely visible. Unlike the wedge, wound separation is less likely.
An irregular, thickened and darkened edge is what leads so many of our patients to choose trim labiaplasty as their preferred approach. For those with excess tissue limited to the mid portions of the labia only, the wedge method is an excellent option.
Wedge vs. Trim: Which Is Best?
So is there one method that’s considered better than another? Not necessarily. Both procedures accomplish the primary goal of labia reduction just fine. The question of which labiaplasty technique will give you better results depends on your unique anatomy and your personal goals for surgery.
Otto J. Placik, M.D. received his medical degree from Northwestern University where he also completed residencies in general and plastic and reconstructive surgery. He completed a fellowship in the aesthetic reconstruction of complex nasal and facial deformities at St. Joseph Hospital in Chicago and an additional fellowship in microvascular and hand surgery at Davies Medical Center, an affiliate of the University of California, San Francisco.
Dr. Placik is certified as a diplomate by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is an active member of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is an active member of several local and national professional organizations. Dr. Placik is a member of the Northwestern University Division of Plastic Surgery Teaching Staff. He holds an academic appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery (Plastic) at Northwestern University Medical School.