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Labiaplasty: What It Is, What It Can Do, And Why It's So Popular
In recent years, vaginal rejuvenation procedures have been rising in popularity. Whether for medical reasons, purely aesthetic reasons, or something in between, many women turn to surgery for vaginal improvements. One of the most popular such procedures is the labiaplasty.
What is a labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a plastic surgery procedure that improves the appearance of the part of a woman’s external genitalia called the labia minora.
How common is this procedure?
In the last few years, there has been a significant increase in the number of labiaplasties being performed by plastic surgeons. Besides women of childbearing age, labiaplasty is also sought-after by many women across the age spectrum—from teenage girls to mature women—who may wish to improve the appearance of their labia.
What can labiaplasty achieve?
Plastic surgeons usually perform labiaplasty in order to address the labia minora, which are the inner "lips" surrounding the vaginal opening. A patient may notice the tissues are excessively elongated and droopy; too thin and bulky; or uneven, with one side longer than the other. With surgery, a doctor can reduce the length, lessen the bulkiness, and improve symmetry. The second area that's addressed by a labiaplasty is the clitoral hooding. This is the skin covering the clitoris. Sometimes there's too much skin, causing folds and bulk overlying the clitoris. Surgery can reduce this by removing the excess skin. Some patients are also unhappy with the labia majora, the larger, hair-bearing lips between the labia minora and inner thighs. Some women complain of loss of volume, spreading or loosening of the tissues, or asymmetry. Surgery can restore volume, remove excess tissue, or do a combination of both.
What can't a labiaplasty do?
Although labiaplasty can improve the appearance of the labia as well as many of the symptoms women experience due to excessive tissue enlargement, it's not intended to completely remove or excise the entire labia. In addition, it's important to not remove too much tissue. This avoids scarring or potential narrowing of the vaginal opening. There are several different techniques used for labiaplasty and an experienced plastic surgeon will be able to advise each patient as to which procedure is best for her.
Why do some women seek out labiaplasty?
Women who seek labiaplasty report that the appearance of their external genitalia has a negative impact both physically and psychologically. Excess bulk can lead to swelling in the tissues which may in turn exacerbate the symptoms, creating a vicious cycle. Some of the more common complaints include: feeling embarrassed or self conscious due to visible bulkiness in the pubic area when wearing tight fitting clothing such as leggings or bathing suits; discomfort during physical activities such as bicycle riding, spinning class, horseback riding; excessive rubbing and chafing during sex; and, in severe cases, a rash or rawness. Many labiaplasty patients are women who have had children and notice an increase in labia size or a change in labia appearance.
What kind of results can you expect?
Results of labiaplasty are immediate, as the excess tissues are removed and contour restored at the time of surgery. Once healing is complete, patients report a very high level of satisfaction, both with the improvement in their physical appearance and the accompanying positive psychological effects on their self image and self confidence.
What's the downtime?
Recovery is usually relatively quick but exercise and vigorous activity should be restricted for at least two weeks. Sexual intercourse and any sports involving direct pressure on the genital area should be avoided for four weeks.
How much does a typical procedure cost?
Depending on the exact procedures you get, labiaplasty may range from $5,000 to $12,000 or more.
Can you combine a labiaplasty with another procedure?
Labiaplasty is often performed in combination with other plastic surgery procedures, such as breast enhancement or body contouring. It can also safely be combined with any number of other aesthetic plastic surgery procedures, such as facial rejuvenation with facelift or neck lift, eyelid lift, and rhinoplasty, as well as minimally invasive procedures such as fat injections and microsuction. You can also add labiaplasty to your mommy makeover, which refers to a combination of procedures designed to restore a woman's body to her pre-baby appearance. This can involve breast augmentation, lift, reduction, liposuction, and tummy tuck.
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