Many women are born with large, irregular, or asymmetrical labia minora. Others develop stretching and elongation of the labia as a result of childbirth, aging, or weight changes. In addition, many women are uncomfortable with the size or fullness of their outer lips, the labia majora. This presents not only an aesthetic problem but also a functional difficulty. Women with large and irregular labia are often embarrassed during sexual interactions, and feel uncomfortable with wearing bathing suits, tight clothes, or jogging shorts. Others may experience pain or irritation during athletic or sexual activity. If any of these affect you, labiaplasty may be an option.
Labiaplasty is a relatively minor plastic surgery procedure that reduces the size and reshapes the inner lips of the outside of the vagina, restoring the natural appearance and function of the external female genitalia. This reduction is usually performed on the labia minora but can also be performed on the labia majora as well. At times, the labia majora atrophies and becomes deflated. This can be improved with reshaping or fat transfer.
The labiaplasty surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure and results are usually immediate, well-tolerated and satisfying. In fact, a recent two-year study on over 400 women who underwent labiaplasty surgery indicates that patients are pleased with their results. According reports, 98 percent of patients report they would choose to have the surgery over again.
Popularity of Labiaplasty
Many women are concerned about the condition and appearance of their labia and vagina, particularly after childbirth, extensive weight loss, or menopause. Labia reshaping and reduction (labiaplasty) is becoming increasingly popular as more women are discovering that something can be done about the problem. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), 12,666 labiaplasty procedures were performed in 2016, representing a 39% increase over the previous year.
Another reason for its popularity is that labiaplasty is a minor procedure that can be performed in the doctor’s office with an anesthetic, which allows patients to avoid the costs of an anesthesiologist and the OR. Compared to more invasive or complicated surgeries, both the procedure itself and the recovery require minimal time. Patients typically experience little to no discomfort during the procedure and only mild post-operative pain and discomfort. Most patients can return to work within 2 to 5 days.
How Labiaplasty is Performed
Recent advances in surgical techniques for labiaplasty have made this highly personal and delicate procedure less invasive, with more satisfactory results. This allows for more precise work and reduces the amount of time required to perform the procedure, as well as allowing for a far shorter recovery time than earlier surgical techniques.
This procedure can also reduce the amount of tissue covering the clitoral hood reduction, or specifically to remove the outer edge of the labia with discoloration. The simple removal of excess tissue to reduce and reshape the labia minora (the small lips surrounding the opening to the vagina and urethra).
Dr. Kara Criswell will customize the procedure. This involves addressing individual needs and goals for labiaplasty. In the “wedge” technique, an incision is made across the width rather than along the edge of the labia. This method is highly effective for reducing the inner one-third of the labia. Dr. Criswell will discuss your goals and will recommend the most appropriate labiaplasty procedure for you.
Improved Vaginal Aesthetics with Labiaplasty
Labiaplasty is a simple, frequently performed, gynecological procedure that can increase comfort and improve the aesthetic appearance of the vaginal region. It can help restore confidence and self-esteem in women who are self-conscious about the appearance of their labia minora. Schedule a consultation at Criswell & Criswell Plastic Surgery in Charlotte, North Carolina to find out if you are a good candidate for labiaplasty.
Sources: ASPS Plastic Surgery Statistics Report 2016