Labiaplasty is a procedure that aims to change the size and shape of the labia minora – otherwise known as the inner lips of the vagina – typically reducing the size or correcting an asymmetry between them. The typical female external genitalia have two sets of labia: the labia majora and labia minora. The labia majora are the larger outer lips that are normally formed by hair-bearing skin. The labia minora are the smaller inner lips. They are more delicate and are hairless.
In most cases, the labia minora protrude slightly beyond the level of the labia majora. Some women however have labia minora that protrude far beyond the level of the labia majora, which can cause physical discomfort during day-to-day activities. Similarly, some women find themselves dissatisfied with the cosmetic appearance this condition creates. Thankfully, for women who are unhappy with the look or feel of their labia, this condition can be improved by undergoing labiaplasty, also called a labia reduction.
Cosmetic Gynecology procedures, including labiaplasty, are on the rise as more women are open to addressing their dissatisfaction with the most intimate aspects of their bodies. In fact, recently published studies around the world suggest that a rising number of women are undergoing such procedures.
If you have lived with this problem for years, you may be surprised to learn that it can be easily corrected with a relatively minor procedure performed by a plastic surgeon, or in some cases by a gynecologist. In fact, many minor cases can even be performed under local anesthetic or freezing with very little downtime.
Cosmetic Surgery vs. Reconstructive Surgery
Traditionally, labiaplasty procedures are considered cosmetic surgery. Cosmetic surgery refers to changes in the aesthetics of anatomy that is in no way altering the body’s function. Cosmetic surgery is often confused with reconstructive surgery, which, unlike cosmetic surgery, aims to improve the function of a body part. Labiaplasty, like many other cosmetic procedures, can improve a woman’s overall self-esteem, making her feel more comfortable in her own skin.
There are some cases however where labiaplasty can be seen as more of a reconstructive procedure. This occurs when the protrusion of the labia minora extends far beyond the level of the labia majora, causing discomfort and pain, otherwise altering with the body’s function. This pain can occur when sitting on bikes or stools, or when engaging in sexual intercourse. In severe cases some women may experience pain when running or even walking.
Plastic Surgeon or Gynecologist?
Both plastic surgeons and gynecologists perform labiaplasty. Though plastic surgeons don’t always have extensive training in vaginal surgery, they are highly skilled in surgical techniques of tissue repair for both cosmetic and reconstructive purposes. Thanks to the evolution of labiaplasty surgery and its increase in popularity today, plastic surgeons are acquiring additional training in vaginal surgery, making them more than qualified to perform a successful labiaplasty procedure.
Gynecologists are qualified to perform labiaplasty, as they are well trained in vaginal surgery and familiar with the vaginal anatomy. Gynecologists, however, do not specialize in cosmetic and plastic surgical procedures, and since labiaplasty is seen as a cosmetic procedure, you may feel more comfortable choosing a plastic surgeon with these highly specialized skills to perform a labia reduction to make sure that your aesthetic and medical goals will be met safely and skillfully.
Above all, it is essential that the surgeon or provider you choose to perform this procedure is skilled in all the options of labiaplasty and other aesthetic surgeries of the vagina. If you’re in search of a highly skilled, board certified plastic surgeon to perform your labiaplasty procedure, learn more about Dr. Lista, Dr. Ahmad, and the state-of-the-art facilities available at The Plastic Surgery Clinic.
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