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The New Vaginal Aesthetic

The New Vaginal Aesthetic

A survey among a group of Australian GP’s concluded that the recent increase in the number of labiaplasty surgeries could be linked to a rise in “genital anxiety” due to the proliferation of porn on the internet. The idea behind the conclusion is women who look at porn see genitalia that doesn’t look like their own, making them feel that something is wrong “down there”. Is there any truth to the claim that porn is compelling women to seek a labiaplasty procedure? Our panel of experts weigh in.

by Katherine Stuart

Labiaplasty Addresses Functionality

According to the latest statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), there has been a 44% increase in the number of labiaplasty procedures performed in the US. Is the claim valid that it’s due to women’s exposure to porn? Dr. Laurie Casas of Glenview, IL says, “No. It’s ridiculous.” The majority of women who come to see her for a labiabplasy consultation are interested in the surgery in order to address issues of functionality. Childbirth, aging, and genetics can all cause the lips of the vagina to enlarge and/or stretch. The result is a labia that hang too low, getting in the way of clothing and lifestyle, which then become irritated. Often, during a physical exam, Casas finds that the labia have actually changed color due to chronic irritation. It’s both painful and uncomfortable. Fixing the issue with a labiaplasty is not so much about improving the look of the labia as it is about improving a patient’s quality of life.

Increased Awareness

“I think what we’re seeing is that there is an increased awareness of the potential benefit of having a labiaplasty procedure,” explains Dr. Charles Messa of Weston, FL. For years, women didn’t have the knowledge or awareness that something could be done surgically to improve things both functionally and aesthetically. Now that labiaplasty has come “out of the closet” and is being discussed openly in women’s magazines, in blogs and in the news, the number of patients seeking surgery has increased.

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Casas does not feel that the US market has been influenced by porn norms. It may be the case in Australia, but in this country, she’s never had a patient come to her saying that her labia looks abnormal because it’s not comparable to what she’s seen in pornographic magazines. Labiaplasty patients come to see her because they have an issue with their labia being too large and causing them pain.

Now that they know that something can be done surgically to fix this issue, they want the surgery. That is why there has been such a huge uptick in the number of labiaplasty procedures performed. Messa agrees, pointing out that there has been, “an 80% increase in the adolescent” labiaplasty population. In the case of a young woman, the issue is often congenital and will lead to a lifetime of pain, discomfort and probably embarrassment if not addressed.

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1 Comment

  1. Christine Hamori MD

    January 25, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I agree with Dr. Messa and Dr. Casas regarding why women present for labiaplasty. In my practice women dislike the appearance and the nuisance of large dangling labia minora. They research labiaplasty on the internet and are exposed then to more trimmed, neat and feminine labia photographs. It is possible the this is how they internalize the new norm. I agree with Dr. Casas that in this country women are not driven to labiaplasty surgery through the viewing of soft porn.

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