It’s a cosmetic surgery procedure that’s not often talked about, but some women say it’s helped their sex lives and given them an extra boost of confidence. It’s called labiaplasty, a plastic surgery procedure for reducing extra tissue in the vaginal area.
Dr. Christine Hamori, a board certified plastic surgeon, performs labiaplasties frequently in her Boston, Massachusetts practice, she says the majority of women that come to see her have felt uncomfortable with the way they have looked for years.
Dr. Hamori says the typical patient feels “different”. “Their whole life since puberty has been a little bit uncomfortable with how they look. These patients will usually have some physical complaints and have feelings that they’re different and not confident.”
Is it really necessary or just misguided vanity?
I know what you’re thinking… really? But when you see the before pictures, well, you get it. It can really be a problem for some women. “I’ve always had self-image issues when I work out or when I wear tight fitting clothing or bathing suits, it’s really noticeable to me,” says one of Dr. Hamori’s recent patients, we’ll call her “Anne”. “I’ve never felt comfortable in my own skin and I think it has affected my confidence.”
There’s a certain stigma attached to the labiaplasty procedure and many women are too embarrassed to tell anyone. “I feel bad for the patient who comes in and is horribly embarrassed, or they’re upset. They feel they can’t tell anyone they’re having the procedure because some people think it’s some terrible, unnecessary surgery to have done. It shouldn’t be that way,” says Hamori.
Labiaplasty Up 41 Percent
Slowly, the labiaplasty stigma seems to be changing as more and more women are seeking out the controversial procedure. Recent statistics show the procedure has increased by 41 percent according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).
Dr. Hamori says the problem can come with age or a change in hormones. Other times it can be congenital, where one side of the labia develops and the other doesn’t.
If you look back at history, breast augmentation once had the same type of negative stigma. Women who had breast enlargement surgery were sometimes ridiculed and many didn’t want anyone to know. Today, it’s much more common and now the procedure is hardly given a second thought.
For Anne, she says having the labiaplasty procedure was well worth it. “I just wanted to look the way I’m supposed to look and feel comfortable in certain clothes.” Hamori says if you have concerns or don’t think you’re “normal”, there’s no reason you can’t be examined by a plastic surgeon or gynecologist and inquire.
She believes the procedure shouldn’t be thought of differently from other cosmetic procedures; it’s nothing more than women wanting to improve something that’s bothering them.