Reality is sometimes stranger than fiction. Many of today’s cutting-edge cosmetic surgery procedures can fall under that heading. Take for example, the labiaplasty. The aesthetic surgery is designed to sculpt the labia minora (the inner lips of the vulva). While this technique is not that new, with the advances in medical technology and rave reviews from happy women, the number of labiaplasty procedures has increased over 49% since 2013. There is also no sign of the trend slowing.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), in 2014, more than 7,534 women sought out the labiaplasty. Experienced cosmetic surgeons note more and more patients are comfortable asking about the benefits of aesthetic surgery down there. “I am asked about labiaplasty at least once a month,” says ob-gyn Jennifer Gunter, MD of Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. “Five years ago, I was probably asked one to two times a year.”
Why the sudden labiaplasty buzz?
Different doctors hold several theories as to why the labiaplasty is becoming more and more popular. A commonly held view explains that women are intensely insecure about the labia’s appearance – as most everyone gets when they feel different. For years, this devastation has been kept quiet, but as the labiaplasty becomes safer and more efficient, women are ready to seek help.
According to one Manhattan plastic surgeon, Dr. Richard Swift, another factor is the current work-out attire. Dr. Swift told the New York Post that women with exceptionally large labia feel self conscious in tight yoga pants. While this may sound silly, yoga pants are actually giving women added incentive to see a doctor.
One last theory is the lean toward a smooth shave. As more women tidy up their pubic hair, the labia minora can be easier to see. Suddenly, someone may be able to notice their ‘lips’ are bigger or more asymmetric than they knew.
The ‘Average’ Labia:
Labia come in all shapes and sizes. Chances are, most women never give theirs a second thought, unless of course they find out their labia looks different. The average labia minora can range from 2cm to 10cm in length, and 0.7 to 5cm in width.
In an Internet-age, women can see the labia minor whenever they want, meaning that if a woman is concerned about her physical shape, she can just Google images of the ‘norm’. If models and actresses have smaller labia, a girl can become concerned that her private area looks different. Larger labia minora can be the root of insecurity and a loss of self-confidence.
Size and shape of the labia are not as important as comfort. Labia have one important job: protect your vagina. The delicate tissues of the vestibule (vaginal opening) are filled with nerve endings, which are extremely sensitive. With too little or too much barrier from the labia, these nerves can be easily stimulated causing pain.
How do you know if you need a labiaplasty?
If you suspect your labia are causing pain during intercourse, or under jeans and tight clothing, it is time to talk to a surgeon regarding treatment options. In some cases, chronic yeast infections and other irritations may be linked to the size and shape of the labia, as well. The only way to understand the cause of these symptoms is to talk to your physician, who can then help you determine if a labiaplasty is right for you.
The Labiaplasty at Vitenas Cosmetic Surgery:
Dr. Paul Vitenas has been helping women achieve their aesthetic goals for more than 25 years. He has extensive experience in both the labiaplasty and Vaginoplasty techniques. Dr. Vitenas can help you determine if a labiaplasty is right for your physical needs and desires. Schedule an in-person consultation by calling the office at 281.617.1838. If you are not in the Houston area, call the office for more information regarding our online consultation process.