More and more women are feeling the pressure to look and feel good when you’re in clothing or behind closed doors. Sometimes it’s hard to talk about your appearance or seek help for a better self image. Labiaplasty is a one to two hour surgical procedure that can reshape a bothersome area of the body. It sculpts the external vaginal structures by reducing or reshaping long or uneven labia. Some consider the procedure a game changer because of the way it rebuilds a woman’s self esteem.
Dr. Christine Hamori, a board certified plastic surgeon in Boston, is noticing a trend where women are viewing the procedure as more than a necessity. They’re having labiaplasty done for aesthetic reasons as well.
Hamori says some of her patients ask for a consultation after they’ve been bullied or heard derogatory comments. “Sadly some of my patients say they feel uncomfortable around their partners,” says Hamori. “Women tell me it’s so upsetting it can affect their confidence and they want to have it fixed.”
Who are labiaplasty candidates?
Patients who seek labiaplasty don’t want the labia minora hanging beyond the labia majora (outer lips). Others feel bulky in pants or a bathing suit and are guarded when it comes to wearing revealing clothing. The final group of patients seeking the surgery are active athletes or triathletes who complain of ‘rubbing’ with biking or running. During the procedure, a vertical wedge of labia minora tissue is removed.
“Patients seeking labiaplasty frequently complain of bulkiness in their undergarments,” says Dr. Hamoir. “The age range of those requesting these procedures is quite broad, often times beginning in the teen years and beyond. Older patients, who may have had children, often have labial tears and laxity issues of the majora and vaginal canal.”
Is labiaplasty becoming more popular?
Labiaplasty has shown a marked increase in popularity according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Labiaplasty procedures increased by 44% over the course of 2013.
“The reality is that women have been grooming themselves differently for the past ten years, with many eliminating pubic hair altogether. Many of my patients want a clean, smooth look ,” explains Hamori.
The number of surgeons who are performing labiaplasties increased from 21% to 29% in the past year alone.
“I believe the dramatic increase in both of these procedures is indicative of much larger global trends respecting body image, an ever-evolving concept of beauty, and self-confidence. More women are pursuing these procedures as a means to achieve a standard of beauty they feel is appropriate. However, I believe more women are also pursuing procedures like labiaplasty to correct issues that are interfering with their ability to perform sexually, to perform daily tasks such as exercise, or are merely causing discomfort,” explains Michael Edwards, MD, President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.
How long is the recovery?
The recovery is about 4-5 days of bed rest followed by 2-3 weeks off from the gym. “I have a very high patient satisfaction rate with this surgery,” says Hamori. “They want to look normal to themselves, to feel better in clothes, and more confident in the bedroom.”