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Comparison of Mean Labial Width in Patients Requesting Labioplasty to a Healthy Control: An Anatomical Study

Murariu, Daniel M.D., M.P.H.; Chun, Benton M.D.; Jackowe, David J. M.D.; Parsa, Alan M.D.; Nakasone, G. Keoni M.D.; Parsa, F. Don M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: January 2012 - Volume 129 - Issue 1 - p 214e–215e
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182365dec

Department of Surgery, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii

Correspondence to Dr. Parsa, Department of Surgery, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813

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Labioplasty, or surgical reduction of the labia minora, is becoming an increasingly more requested procedure. Although most often a congenital anatomical variation, enlarged labia minora may also be attributed to edema and mechanical stretching, as occurs following pregnancy and childbirth. Patients desire labioplasty for a multitude of reasons, such as greater function and confidence with their sexual partners, and comfort while wearing form-fitting clothes such as bathing suits and leotards.1 Reduction procedures serve to preserve both the aesthetics and the delicate neurovascular supply of the labia. However, these procedures are not without controversy, among both the lay public and medical professionals.2 One reason for this controversy is a paucity of literature and studies.2 To our knowledge, no comparative anatomical study has been published comparing the dimensions of youthful normal labia minora with large and symptomatic labia.

We analyzed a total of 24 consecutive patients (mean age, 36 years) requesting labioplasty over a 21-year period. The labial width, defined as the distance from the labial cusp to the edge of the widest point of the labium minus, was measured during the preoperative assessment (Fig. 1). We compared these measurements with those obtained from 15 healthy nulliparous patients (mean age, 18 years) on whom labial width was measured during a routine gynecologic examination by one of the coauthors (B.C.).

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

The mean ± SD labial width was 3.52 ± 0.71 cm for those requesting labioplasty and 1.54 ± 0.34 cm for the control patients. Fisher's exact test was performed, and the difference between these two groups was found to be significant (p < 0.05).

The results of this anatomical study demonstrate that there is a significant anatomical difference in the mean labial width of patients requesting reductive labioplasty. These data suggest a noteworthy anatomical basis for patients' complaints regarding the obtrusiveness of their labia. Although limited by a small number of patients, these measurements may serve as a cursory guideline for clinicians when attempting to rule out cases of dysmorphic syndrome.

Daniel Murariu, M.D., M.P.H.

Benton Chun, M.D.

David J. Jackowe, M.D.

Alan Parsa, M.D.

G. Keoni Nakasone, M.D.

F. Don Parsa, M.D.

Department of Surgery, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii

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1. Maas SM, Hage JJ. Functional and aesthetic labia minora reduction. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2000;105:1453–1456.
2. Goodman MP. Female cosmetic genital surgery. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;113:154–159.
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