Clinical characteristics of well women seeking labial reduction surgery: a prospective study

BJOG. 2011 Nov;118(12):1507-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-0528.2011.03088.x. Epub 2011 Aug 24.


Objective: To assess clinical characteristics and expectations in well women requesting elective labial reduction surgery.

Design: Prospective study of women attending an outpatient gynaecology clinic.

Setting: General gynaecology clinic at a Central London teaching hospital.

Sample: Women requesting labial reduction surgery and referred by their general practitioner.

Methods: The labia minora width and length were measured for all participants for comparison with published normal values. The presenting complaint was recorded, along with demographic details, expectations of surgery and sources of information regarding appearance of the labia.

Main outcome measures: Labial measurements, reported symptoms and expectations of surgery.

Results: The labia of all participants were within normal published limits, with a mean (SD) of 26.9 (12.8) mm (right labia), and 24.8 (13.1) mm (left labia). The majority of complaints were regarding appearance or discomfort. Expectations were to alter the appearance with surgery.

Conclusions: All women seeking surgery had normal-sized labia minora. Clear guidance is needed for clinicians on how best to care for the worried well woman seeking surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Body Image*
  • Child
  • Cosmetic Techniques / psychology*
  • Elective Surgical Procedures / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Vulva / anatomy & histology
  • Vulva / surgery*
  • Young Adult