Statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) are a good indicator of the latest trends in cosmetic procedures sought by men and women in the U.S. According to their numbers, one of this year’s hottest trends is labiaplasty – also called vaginal rejuvenation. This labia-trimming procedure jumped almost 50 percent between 2013 and 2014, and plastic surgeons say the requests keep on rolling in.
Several procedures fall under the umbrella term “vaginal rejuvenation,” including hymenoplasty (restores the hymen), monsplasty (tightens and reduces the Mons Pubis) and labiaplasty (the labia minora — or inner lips of the vulva – are trimmed down). In the context of female genital cosmetic surgery, labiaplasty is the most popular of the three, as more women prefer the appearance and comfort of small labia.
Why the spike in labiaplasty?
Ob-Gyn Jennifer Gunter, MD, who directs a clinic for vulvar conditions at San Francisco’s Kaiser Permanente remarks on growing interest in labiaplasty: “I am asked about labiaplasty at least once a month…Five years ago, I was probably asked one to two times a year.”
Health care professionals say there are many reasons why women want to reduce the size of their labia minora, ranging from embarrassment and discomfort in tight clothing and sexual encounters to a growing cultural acceptance.
Consider women who work in the adult film industry. Most have tiny labia minora that are barely visible. Given the popularity and widespread availability of internet-based porn, some women may think small labia minora are the “norm” when, in fact, they routinely come in all shapes and sizes. Gunter adds that it is not unusual or abnormal for labia minora to stick out past the outer lips of the vagina. Normal labia minora can range from 2 to 10 cm in length and 0.7 to 5 cm in width.
Another factor in this hot plastic surgery trend, according to Dr. Barbara Levy of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, is the direct correlation with genital shaving and waxing. Ladies who routinely get a Brazilian wax are keenly attuned to their genital appearance – now that hair is out of the equation.
Psychological benefits for patients
While some argue that social pressures have given ladies yet another body part to feel insecure about, those who do have labiaplasty are generally glad they did. Some 91 percent of women who had the procedure were very satisfied with their appearance afterward, according to one 2014 study.
Women with extremely large labia minora often complain of pain during sexual intercourse, or feeling self-conscious wearing a bathing suit or form-fitting workout clothes. Labiaplasty can have significant psychological and confidence-boosting benefits for women like these.
Gunter notes that more research is needed on the long-term implications of labiaplasty surgery. For instance, what happens to patients once they hit menopause and vaginal tissues begin to shrink?
In the end, having vaginal rejuvenation with labiaplasty is a very personal choice, and one that should not be influenced by outside societal pressures.
Labiaplasty in NYC
As a mother of three, Dr. B. Aviva Preminger relates to the unique concerns women have about their bodies. She strives to make women feel more confident and empowered from the inside out. To learn more about labiaplasty in Manhattan with Dr. Preminger, please call 212-706-1900 to schedule a private consultation.