Though labiaplasty is growing in popularity, many women are unaware of this routine plastic surgery. This is also known as a vaginal rejuvenation.
(Madison, Wis.)—A generation ago, it was unusual for a woman to be able to compare her genital area with other women. Unlike many men, the majority of women simply don’t walk around the locker room naked. Today, however, thanks to the proliferation of websites showcasing various anatomical images and the increasing popularity of Brazilian waxes, the variety of shapes and sizes that make up a woman’s genital area have been exposed. This has caused some women to become self-conscience about their appearance.
The majority of women desiring a change in the appearance of their genitalia object to the size and projection of their labia. The labia minora are the small inner flaps of tissue that cover the clitoris and vagina, and these may be elongated or enlarged as a result of sexual activity, childbirth, genetics, or the aging process. The labia majora may also be enlarged. The labia majora are the larger fleshy parts on the outside of the body.
Thomas Bartell, MD, a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon practicing in Madison, Wis., is one of only a handful of surgeons in the area performing this procedure. “I’ve had patients come to me in tears, fearful of undressing in front of anyone and sometimes unsure of how to talk about the issue,” said Dr. Bartell. “I reassure them that there’s nothing at all to be embarrassed about. As with any procedure, our goal is to improve confidence and quality of life. Whether it be a breast augmentation or reduction, a tummy tuck or a labiaplasty, the end goal is the same.”
Having enlargement of the labia can cause more than mental discomfort as well, explained Dr. Bartell. “Enlargement of the labia may cause pain during intercourse, exercise, or even while wearing tight clothing,” he said. Prominent labia may also be visible in some bathing suits.
Labiaplasty is a minor surgical procedure that can reduce the size and projection of the labia by trimming and reshaping the vaginal inner lips (labia minora), outer lips (labia majora), or both. The surgery is not designed to enhance sexual pleasure or satisfaction, but rather to alleviate any painful symptoms, boost confidence, and help improve quality of life.
Because labiaplasty is relatively new, selecting an experienced plastic surgeon is critical. Be certain to see out a “board certified” professional to ensure the best outcome and maximum safety.
For more information about labiaplasty surgery and how to find a qualified surgeon, visit the ASPS web site at www.plasticsurgery.org.