Here’s why labiaplasty is on the rise

Research shows that most women who opt for labiaplasty, or labia minora reduction, are satisfied with the results and find well-deserved relief from symptoms. So it is no surprise that the number of patients who undergo labiaplasty in the United States is on the rise: from 2015 to 2021, the number of procedures rose from 8,745 to 18,813, according to The Aesthetic Society.

Our plastic surgeons are committed to helping women make informed, empowered choices about their bodies. Unfortunately, a bias still exists against female genital surgery, and some doctors even discourage patients from seeking labia reduction surgery without evidence to back up this recommendation. In this context, it’s important to understand that labiaplasty effectively relieves frustrating emotional and physical symptoms related to enlarged labia.

Most patients report both aesthetic and practical reasons for labiaplasty

A 2017 study, of which our own Santa Rosa labiaplasty expert Dr. Heather Furnas was a co-author, closely examined the motives of 50 patients who visited plastic surgeons in search of labiaplasty between 2014 and 2016. Until then, studies had mixed results: some suggested that patients primarily underwent labiaplasty for functional reasons, while others suggested labiaplasty was mostly chosen for aesthetic reasons.

The results clearly showed that most patients seek labiaplasty for both functional and aesthetic reasons; only 4% of patients reported no physical discomfort before surgery, and all reported appearance-related concerns. Reasons patients gave for labiaplasty included:

  • Tugging or pain during intercourse
  • Discomfort in tight pants
  • Twisting of the labia
  • Labia visibility in yoga pants
  • Labia could become exposed in bathing suits
  • Self-consciousness, negative impact on self-esteem
  • Restrictions in clothing choices
  • Negative impact on intimacy

Most patients surveyed were experiencing not just one or two of these symptoms, but at least four of them. From a medical standpoint, this makes labiaplasty an incredibly important solution to a frustrating issue that affects many women; stretched labia tissues are caused by pregnancy, childbirth, aging, or even genetics.

Benefits of labiaplasty

Numerous studies have established that labiaplasty has low complication rates. And numerous studies have found that over 90% of patients are satisfied with the results. For patients who desire the procedure, benefits of labiaplasty may include:

  • Improved self-esteem
  • Improved sexual confidence and satisfaction
  • Less discomfort in tight clothing, during exercise, and with sexual intercourse

Of course, patients should be a good candidate for surgery, and should discuss all health benefits and risks with their surgeon. Furthermore, excellent results depend on surgeon experience and skill. Patients seeking any cosmetic surgery should ask for their surgeon’s board certification and how many labiaplasties they have performed.

Reputable plastic surgeons keep before and after photos of previous patients to aid in your discussion of the results that are possible. During your consultation, surgeons should listen closely to your concerns and collaborate with you to develop a surgical plan.

What has contributed to the greater knowledge of labiaplasty?

With the internet as a part of everyday life, women are now more easily able to conduct research and find a reputable, board-certified plastic surgeon to perform their procedure. Additionally, with more women voicing their experiences with the benefits of labiaplasty, and greater support for people making their own body-positive decisions, the procedure is coming out of the shadows and becoming both more understood and accepted.

It is important to note there has been a myth that pornography is what influences women to seek labia reduction surgery, but a 2020 study showed it motivates only a small minority of women who request a labiaplasty procedure—rather, it is most often personally felt symptoms that drive women to meet with a plastic surgeon.

About the board-certified plastic surgeons at Plastic Surgery Associates

Dr. Heather Furnas, Dr. Francisco Canales, and Dr. Eric Culbertson offer a full range of popular plastic surgeries at our Northern California plastic surgery practice. We also offer non-surgical aesthetic treatments through Allegro MedSpa. To schedule your consultation, call 707-537-2111 or contact us online today!

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