Technical Refinements of Vulvar Reconstruction in Gender-Affirming Surgery

Geolani W. Dy, Christodoulos Kaoutzanis, Lee Zhao, Rachel Bluebond-Langner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Summary: Penile inversion vaginoplasty involves creation of vulva and a vaginal canal. Few studies describe techniques for creating aesthetic vulvar components, particularly the clitoral hood and labia minora. The authors present their approach to primary vulvoplasty, aiming to achieve the following: (1) labia minora that are well-defined and three-dimensional; (2) labia minora that frame the introitus; (3) sufficient clitoral hooding; (4) a patent introitus that appears closed at rest; and (5) prominent labia majora. In this technique, the labia majora are created by first pulling the superolateral scrotal skin inferiorly and medially toward the perineum. The labia majora incisions may be made laterally, medially, or both laterally and medially, dependent on the amount of penile and scrotal skin available. Initial approximating sutures are placed to anchor the labia inferiorly, and then excess skin is removed medially. The surgeon should avoid excess defatting of the labia majora, which are subject to initial edema and often atrophy with time. The preputial or distal penile shaft skin is used for the clitoral hood and medial aspect of the labia minora, with proximal penile shaft skin used for the lateral surface. The penile skin used for the lateral aspect of the labia minora must be pulled inferomedially toward the perineum, to create a narrow, tapered appearance and avoid effacement of the labia minora. Interrupted horizontal mattress quilting sutures are used to define the labia minora as distinct subunits. By considering homologous structures and anatomical subunits, we are able to create well-defined, aesthetic vulva in trans women and nonbinary individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)984e-987e
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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