The Internet truly has changed everything. The ability of patients to research procedures and possibilities before they even consult with a surgeon has allowed conversations, that in the past, may have been taboo, to finally happen between patients and surgeons. Labiaplasty is a prime example. For years, women have put up with discomfort and pain and insecurities about this part of their body – a very private part. But today, interest in Labiaplasty is growing and rapidly gaining ground as one of the most popular operations in plastic surgery.
Drs. Ashley Gordon and Dustin Reid of Austin, Texas, explain Labiaplasty as, “The medical term that describes removing the excess tissue from the labia minora, or inner lips.” Most patients who approach Dr. Gordon truly have functional problems. They have discomfort when they ride a bike, run and do activities like ride a horse. This is a pain they have coped with for years, not realizing there is a solution to the problem, or maybe that it really is a problem because it has been for so long, just the way they were born. However, in addition to the Internet, a change in grooming habits has also increased the popularity of this procedure. “Women are now shaving everything,” says Dr. Gordon and Dr. Reid believes, “People are less willing to live with things that bother them.”
A common misconception about Labiaplasty is that men are driving its popularity. Gordon says, “When I ask patients what is driving them to this surgery, or why now, it is almost always them. They don’t like the way it looks or feels.”
The procedure also addresses the labia majora. Over time, this area can lose volume and need rejuvenation of its own. Fat grafting to the labia majora plumps the area and makes it look more youthful according to Dr. Reid.
Blending the entire region helps patients not only feel better functionally but it helps them look better in and out of today’s clothing. “No one wants to wear a bathing suit and have everyone’s eyes drawn to that area,” says Dr. Reid, “A hundred years ago, you don’t know what your friend’s vagina looked like because she’s wearing a dress down to the floor and a bonnet.” Times have certainly changed not only in fashion but in conversation. What was once taboo to speak of is now a normal topic of conversation.
Having options and choices in how to deal with this very private area is a blessing to those affected by it. Dr. Gordon believes that although some cosmetic issues exist, most of her patients come to her because of the discomfort and functional issues too much tissue in this area create. Being in Austin, Texas and the center of so many triathlons and athletic activities and with it being heavy horse country, patients are finding it necessary to seek treatment. In addition, excessive labia tissue can cause sexual dysfunction and pain. “The excess tissue is simply in the way and can be quite painful during sexual intercourse,” comments Dr. Gordon.
The recovery associated with Labiaplasty is minimal. The stiches dissolve on their own causing a slight irritation and itchiness but most patient find the mild discomfort worth the result they see and feel!