Have you ever felt self-conscious about the way you look “down there,” or been uncomfortable during sex or physical activity due to excess labial tissue? You may be relieved to learn that many women feel the same way and have turned to labiaplasty to remove excess skin or reshape the labia to be more aesthetically appealing. In 2016, more than 12,600 labiaplasties were performed in the United States. That number is growing as the procedure becomes more popular.
Getting Familiar With Your Labia
The vulvar region that surrounds your vagina (the tube that leads from the outside of your body to your uterus) is made up of two sets of lips, or labia: the labia majora (the flesh-colored area that is covered in hair) and the labia minora (the inner lips that tend to be much darker).
Idealized images of vulvas tend to be focused on those that show smaller labia minora, which are enclosed, clamshell-like, in the labia majora. However, many women have long or droopy labia minora that extend past the outer lips. The length of the inner lips may be significant enough that they can be seen through tight-fitting clothing or even protrude through bathing suits or short shorts.
Sometimes the vulvar lips are so long or thick that they get caught in underwear or clothing, or cause discomfort during sex or other physical activities, such as riding a bicycle. Women may have asymmetrical labia that they want corrected. Others just prefer the look of a “clean” vulvar region, and that includes sprucing up the labia.
Some labiaplasties are medically necessary, as in the case of labia hypertrophy — an overgrowth of the labia caused by excess testosterone. Other medical conditions that may be alleviated by labiaplasty, include chronic irritation and congenital disorders. However, approximately 87% of labiaplasties are performed for cosmetic reasons.
A Simple Procedure …
Unlike other cosmetic surgical procedures, such as facelifts, breast augmentation, and rhinoplasty, a labiaplasty is a relatively simple procedure that takes just a few hours in your doctor’s office under local anesthesia. Depending on what your goal is, the inner and/or outer labia are trimmed and reshaped. This can be a conservative alteration, or may be quite extensive. A popular procedure, known as the “Barbie” removes all or most of the inner lips to give a more uniform appearance to the vulva. The stitches are generally resorbable, and therefore do not require later removal.
… That Requires Great Skill
However, the seeming simplicity of the procedure is deceiving. Unfortunately, labiaplasty has attracted practitioners who lack proper training and technique. Just as you wouldn’t trust your face to someone who hadn’t been trained to understand its anatomy — including the specific vasculature, nerves and muscles — so should you aim to find the most skilled plastic surgeon possible to reshape your vulvar lips.
Finding the best plastic surgeons in las vegas is even more important in cosmetic procedures than it is in medically necessary surgeries. Cosmetic surgery is not covered by medical insurance, and neither are the consequences of a poorly performed operation, such as:
- Chronic pain
- Chronic dryness
- Chronic yeast infections
- Decreased sensation
Labiaplasty Should Be Beautiful
Julio Garcia, MD, is an expert plastic surgeon in Las Vegas who has performed hundreds of labiaplasties. In addition to his skill as a surgeon, he was trained as an artist and has a bachelor’s degree in Art History. Dr. Garcia brings his highly developed sense of aesthetics and love of beauty and harmony to all of his plastic surgical procedures — including labiaplasty.
A Time for Recovery
After your labiaplasty, you’ll need to take off at least a week from work and household duties to tend to your recovery. You can control swelling and bruising by applying an icepack to the surgical site for 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off. Elevating your hips is also helpful.
After four to six weeks, you should be able to wear tampons and have sex again. Most of the swelling subsides within six weeks, but residual swelling can last several months.
The Changes You Can Expect
If you decide to have a labiaplasty, you can expect such benefits as:
- More aesthetic appearance of the labia
- More symmetry in the labia
- Shorter labia
- Relief from twisting and tugging
- Higher self esteem
Labiaplasty has a very high satisfaction rate, with more than 90 percent of women reporting that they were happy with their results.
Adding on to Labiaplasty
Women who choose to improve the appearance or function of their labia with labiaplasty may also opt to improve the vulvar and vaginal regions with other procedures, such as:
- Vaginoplasty to tighten and rejuvenate the vagina
- Clitoral unhooding to increase clitoral sensitivity
- G-spot amplification with collagen injections to increase pleasure
- Revirgination to repair a torn hymen
Of course, having a labiaplasty is a perfect time to do non-vulvar related cosmetic procedures, such as a breast lift, breast augmentation or reduction, and a tummy tuck.
It’s important to remember that labiaplasty is a irreversible procedure. If you are considering shortening or improving the look of your labia with surgery, call Dr. Garcia for a consultation. You can discuss your desires and concerns, and learn how labiaplasty can help you achieve greater confidence and pleasure.