The Labiaplasty Boom
One of the hot trends in plastic surgery right now is labiaplasty, a procedure to trim the vulva’s inner lips, aka the labia minora. According to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), labiaplasty procedures spiked 39% in 2016, with more than 12,000 procedures.
What is labiaplasty? And why are more women seeking this procedure?
Labiaplasty is a plastic surgery procedure sought for cosmetic and functional reasons. A labiaplasty usually trims excess labia minora tissue that can be troublesome for women. While having long or multiple folds of labia minora is normal and natural, some women can feel self-conscious about their labia peeking out through thong underwear or a bathing suit. Women may feel physical discomfort when wearing yoga pants, during sexual intercourse or sitting on a bicycle seat. Removal of excess labia tissue allows the inner lips of the vagina (known as the “labia minora”) to sit tucked up neatly within the outer lips (the “labia majora”).
So what is driving its popularity? Not surprisingly, other popular everyday activities are contributing to women wanting to get their vaginas reshaped. For example, the current athleisure apparel trend is making women more self-conscious about having camel toe or other unsightly protrusions in their pelvic region. Additionally, the popularity of hair removal practices, such as Brazilian waxing, is also drawing added attention to the vaginal area, so women are increasingly concerned about making sure that the area looks its best.
Also, as with other trends, the popularity of labiaplasties could also be due to a compounding effect. As more women have the procedure performed, not only do other women become aware that such a procedure exists, but also word spreads about the benefits that a labiaplasty can bring.
Ultimately, only time will tell if the popularity of labiaplasties will continue to increase. But if it follows other plastic surgery trends, such as breast and buttocks augmentations, then odds are that more and more women will seek labiaplasties in the coming years.
Is labiaplasty painful?
Although this part of the female body is indeed sensitive and delicate, labiaplasty recovery is actually fairly straightforward. Pain medication is usually required for a few days. A week off work is recommended to allow for quiet healing at home. Loose, comfortable pants are suggested, and an absorbent mini-pad can be worn to absorb minor spotting for a few days. Bruising and swelling resolves over days to weeks, and a return to most physical activities can occur before a month passes. The surgery may be performed under local anesthesia or with the addition of light sedation.
Is it better to have it done at an early age or wait until you are older?
In almost every case, it’s better to have labiaplasty done when it’s needed. If large labia bother you either physically, or emotionally – then it simply doesn’t make any sense to live with these physical or emotional pains.
As far as any medical reason for delaying a labiaplasty, there simply isn’t one. Whether or not a young woman decides to have the minimal procedure performed, or not, is up to how she feels about herself. In those cases, women and young girls who have an actual physical problem with their labia-such as large, or asymmetric labia-having labiaplasty performed early can result in an anatomical correction that results in greater patient self-esteem as they mature.
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