What Is Labiaplasty, and Is It Really Growing in Popularity?

Dr. Sacha Obaid, Board-Certified Plastic Surgeon Serving Dallas, Plano, Southlake, and Nearby Fort Worth, Texas

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By Sacha Obaid

When you think of cosmetic surgery, you may think of breast implants or facelifts, which give pretty visible results. But there’s another procedure that is increasingly popular, even though few people see the results! Labiaplasty.

This procedure is performed on the genital area, which is probably why it’s still considered a bit taboo, the way breast implants used to be. People who have had labiaplasties don’t often talk about it, and many people don’t know that it’s an option at all. If you haven’t heard of it, or know a little and want to learn more, here’s what you need to know!

What is labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty is a surgery that a woman can have on the inner lips of her vagina. There are two sets of lips that surround the vagina: the inner and outer labia. There are many nerve endings here, and the main role of the labia is to protect this very delicate part of the body.

Just like bodies come in all shapes and sizes, the labia do too. Some women have labia that are small, while some have labia that are very long or thick. There’s no “right” way for the labia to look. Even so, some women are self-conscious about their size or shape. And sometimes large labia can even cause pain.

what is labiaplasty

How does it work?

Thanks to labiaplasty, there’s now a way to solve these problems! In a labiaplasty, the labia are trimmed to remove excess tissue, making them smaller and more even. The procedure takes just one or two hours, and the incisions need only a few stitches. It can be performed under a general or a local anesthetic, so it’s safe for almost anyone. And because it’s a minor procedure, most people who have it can go home on the same day.

There is a short recovery period of three to four weeks. During this time:

  • Keep the genital area very clean.
  • Avoid using tampons.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing that doesn’t chafe.
  • Avoid sex – The labia need time to heal.

If women’s satisfaction is anything to go by, the results that come from these recovery requirements are worth it!

Why are women having labia surgery?

The labia mature during puberty. After that they don’t usually change much in size or shape, except sometimes as a result of pregnancy or menopause. For instance, if the inner labia are torn in childbirth, they might change as they heal. For menopausal women, the skin of the labia often gets thinner, which can make the labia look stretched out or deflated. Women who have these changes do sometimes decide to have labia surgery.

Women might not be talking about labiaplasty much, but when they do, it seems there are two main reasons why they have this surgery.

Labia Surgery for Cosmetic Reasons

Some women who have very large labia feel self-conscious about their size. This is especially the case when the labia are large enough to cause a visible bulge in exercise-wear or tight pants. Some women even avoid sexual intimacy because they’re worried their labia look abnormal.

Most women—around 87%—who have this surgery choose it mainly cosmetic reasons. For these women, it’s about feeling more confident and having a better body image.

Women who have the procedure for cosmetic reasons feel better about their naked bodies, are more comfortable with sexual intimacy, and feel more confident about wearing tight clothing. Many women say that labiaplasty helps them feel more self-confident when exercising, too!

Labia Surgery for Physical Pain

For other women, it’s not so much about how their labia look, as it is that the labia are large enough to cause pain or other problems. Sometimes the inner lips are so large that they rub, chafe, and catch against clothing, becoming very painful. Beyond the pain, these women experience an increased risk of inflammation and infection in the genital area.

Some women with large labia have discomfort or pain when riding bikes or doing other kinds of exercise. Large labia can even obstruct the vagina and make tampon use and penetrative sex difficult.

These problems can be painful and even embarrassing, but a labiaplasty is a simple and effective solution.

Labiaplasty is getting more popular, very quickly.

The first cosmetic labiaplasty procedures were carried out in 1984, and it’s taken a very long time for this kind of surgery to become more mainstream. Even now it’s something that women aren’t talking about much, but that will likely change as more people have the procedure.

While there are still only a few people having this kind of surgery each year, it’s one of the fastest-growing types of plastic surgery in the U.S. In fact, between 2013 and 2014 there was a 49% increase in labia surgery, and 7,535 women had labiaplasties!

When women do talk about their labiaplasties, they almost always have good things to say. Women who have this surgery are very happy with their results; the patient satisfaction rate is 94% to 100%!

Are you interested in learning more about labiaplasty?

There are no perfect bodies, and no perfect labia either. If you’re happy with your labia, there’s no need to worry about changing them! But if the shape or size of your labia does cause you physical pain or emotional discomfort, labiaplasty might just provide the solution.

The labiaplasty procedure is available at North Texas Plastic Surgery, where board-certified Dr. Sacha Obaid performs this and other kinds of vaginal rejuvenation.

It may be a short and simple procedure, but it can have a profound effect on your body image. You may leave feeling more comfortable and confident in your skin!

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