Labiaplasty is one of the hottest plastic surgery procedures of the last 5 years with no end in sight. The surgical procedure is performed to reshape a woman’s labia minor, the inner “lips” of the vulva. You might believe that women are rushing to have this surgical procedure for functional reasons, but in a growing amount of cases, women just want to look and feel better to live a more comfortable life.
Board certified plastic surgeons Dr. Ashley Gordon of Austin, Texas and Dr. Luis Rios of McAllen, Texas discuss how they’ve watched labiaplasty rise from a great procedure to one of the most popular in their field.
Labiaplasty – Form and Function
It is the plastic surgery procedure giving women a new and potent dose of confidence. “Not only do they look better and feel better, but intercourse can also be a lot more enjoyable,” shares Dr. Gordon, one of the first to offer the procedure to women. Gordon says women are motivated to select labiaplasty for a lot of different reasons, including improved sexual health and genital appearance. She indicates there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to the labia. Every woman is different.
Not long ago, labiaplasty was considered a “taboo topic” and wasn’t often discussed. That’s changing. Women are feeling the freedom to change their appearance “down there,” and maybe just because they want to look better! “Women are feeling that they don’t need to come up with an excuse about why they need this procedure,” continues Gordon. “They don’t need to say, ‘I can’t spin,’ or, ‘I can’t ride horses,’ or ‘I don’t like the way my yoga pants fit.'” Gordon welcomes the new attitude; women are seeing the procedure as a want, not a need. “I think for a long time, there was a lot of shame associated with it and some surgeons may have perpetuated that idea by wanting to know why a patient needs this operation.”
Gordon is all about changing the body if it’s for the right reason. Boosting confidence absolutely qualifies. “It’s a self-confidence thing,” she explains. “They are more confident in the bedroom, they are more confident in their clothes, and they like the way it looks.”
More Than Practical
The proof is in the numbers: women are rushing to get labiaplasty. In 2016, more than 12,000 procedures were performed, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Some women want to feel better about how they look and not worry about their ‘female parts’ getting in the way. “We’re getting them back to normal,” says Dr. Luis Rios. The plastic surgeon from McAllen admits he was reluctant to begin offering the procedure at first, but many of his female staff members insisted that labiaplasty should be added to the practice portfolio. “It became very apparent in my office with the nurses that this should be part of our plan,” he explains.
He indicates that when labiaplasty first took off, it was primarily about improving incontinence. Now, women want the procedure for a multitude of reasons, including appearance and aesthetics. “Once women become aware that the technology is out there, they want it done. Even my own office staff would talk about how one is bigger than the other and how they hated how they look and how uncomfortable it is. We’re talking about parts of the body that women never talked about before.”
Rios says for too long, the medical community only focused on the practical side of labiaplasty while women have been asking for more. They see beyond just form and function to aesthetics and appearance. Rios says that labiaplasty can offer something for a wide range of patients, delivering what women want and need. “If it can boost confidence, it’s something we should do,” concludes Rio.