Labiaplasty – Why It’s Not What You Think

As the popularity of plastic surgery continues to rise, there has also been a major uptick in the number of women opting for genital cosmetic procedures. In the past decade, the number of women undergoing this type of surgery has tripled. Labia reduction, also known as labiaplasty, has become especially popular at our Boston practice and throughout the country. While this procedure has a lot of negative connotations around the world, labiaplasty can actually be very beneficial to women who suffer physical and emotional issues from the size of their labia.

Labial Anatomy

Surrounding the vulva are two sets of skin tissue, the labia major and the labia minor, which protect the vagina and also contribute to feelings of sexual pleasure. When the labia are overly large or asymmetrical, they can sometimes, though not always, cause pain or discomfort during exercise, sexual activity, or when wearing tight clothing. This condition can also lead to self-confidence issues about how the labia appear to sexual partners.

Large or asymmetrical labia can be caused by pregnancies, aging, or simple genetics. Pregnancy and giving birth cause the labia to stretch to accommodate the fetus as it passes through the vagina. After birth, the labia may not shrink back to its original state. As women age, the elasticity in their skin is reduced and gravity takes care of the rest. Some women are simply born with large labia. By removing excess labial tissue, a surgeon can restore a woman’s confidence and remove any pain or discomfort associated with her labia.

What a Labiaplasty Is

Labiaplasty means “reshaping of the labia.” It involves reducing the amount of labial tissue from the labia major and/or the labia minor to reshape the appearance of the labia to be more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing. Typically this procedure targets the labia major (the larger, outer set of tissue), but the labia minor (the smaller, inner set of tissue) have been gaining ground as a focus in labiaplasty. A recent trend shows more and more women wanting to hide the labia minora or make them barely noticeable.

What a Labiaplasty Is Not

A labiaplasty is not a procedure for getting a “designer vagina.”First of all, the vagina is located inside you; it’s actually the labia and the vulva that are the external genitalia. Secondly, every woman has different labial anatomy and different goals for surgery. Some women have a labiaplasty so their labia will look more like those that are seen in magazines or movies, but not every woman who gets a labiaplasty does so for the sake of vanity; there are many women who suffer pain and discomfort just from wearing underwear. In the end, it all comes down to what the patient wants and what the doctor is able to do. A doctor who is skilled in this procedure will be able to reshape the labia so that they are symmetrical and comfortable for the patient while keeping the integrity of the labia and vulva intact.

Labiaplasties are also not a form of genital mutilation. In some cultures, it is considered a rite of passage to remove the labia and the clitoris to keep young women from experiencing sexual pleasure. This is not the goal of a labiaplasty surgery. Labiaplasty is a procedure designed to improve a woman’s comfort and satisfaction in her body by removing extra tissue, not by damaging or destroying the genitalia.

Scheduling a Labia Reduction Consultation

If you are a woman with oversized or asymmetrical labia that cause discomfort or insecurity and are interested in finding out more about labiaplasty surgery, contact our Boston plastic surgery office (781) 237-7000 to schedule an initial consultation. Dr. Christopher Davidson is a Harvard-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon who is considered one of the best plastic surgeons in the city. During your consultation, he will conduct a full exam and medical assessment, discuss your options and your goals, and determine whether you are a good candidate for the procedure. You will also be able to use this time to ask as many questions as you want and gain more information about how the procedure is performed, possible risks and complications, and recovering from the procedure. Our staff can schedule consultations for local and out-of-town patients, so call our office to make an appointment today!

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