The Safe Labiaplasty: A Study of Nerve Density in Labia Minora and Its Implications

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Abstract

Background

Surgical techniques to alleviate labia minora hypertrophy are gaining popularity. Due to the rapidly growing number of labiaplasties performed around the world, there is concern for the safety of these procedures with respect to maintaining sensitivity to the genitalia and/or implications for sexual arousal.

Objectives

An anatomic study aimed at identifying the nerve density distribution of the labia minora was performed to provide unique insight into performing labiaplasty while preserving sensation.

Methods

Four fresh tissue cadaver labia minora were analyzed. Each labia minora was divided into 6 anatomic areas. The samples from each of the 6 anatomic locations were analyzed for presence of nerve bundles using both a routine hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stain and a confirmatory immunohistochemical staining for S100 protein. Nerve density was analyzed under light microscopy, counted, and then expressed as percentage nerve density as well as number of bundles per square millimeter.

Results

Upon gross analysis, the raw data reveal that labia minora have a heterogeneous population of sensory nerves. When looking at percent nerve density, the data do not reveal any statistical differences between the anatomic locations.

Conclusions

Most labiaplasty techniques can be performed safely and are unlikely to cause loss of sensation as the nerve density distribution in labia minora is heterogeneous.

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