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Labiaplasty is an EMPOWERING procedure for women – NOT mutilation!

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I was surprised and disappointed to see a recent quote by a politician in the UK that implied that labiaplasty surgery could be viewed as “female genital mutilation”.

UntitledFrom The Independent.co.uk:  “Theresa May has said that doctors who carry out ‘designer vagina’ cosmetic surgery could be committing a criminal offence, unless there is a physical or mental health justification.  In a report to Parliament, the Home Secretary warned that prosecutions could take place – whether the woman had given her consent to the surgery or not – and that courts could be asked to rule whether “purely cosmetic surgery” falls into the same category of crime as female genital mutilation (FGM).”

And this quote came from a woman!  Obviously she does not understand the labiaplasty procedure and has not been educated about why women would choose to have surgery on such a delicate area of their body.

Another recent article from Vice.com was entitled:  “Should designer vaginas be illegal in the UK?”.  What about women’s ability to make decisions for their own bodies?

imagesDoes labiaplasty surgery involve the vagina?  NO.  Read my blog post about labiaplasty and the misnomer “vaginal surgery” here.  

images (3)So why do women seek a labiaplasty ?  Here are some of the many reasons my patients have told me they are coming to see me to learn about labiaplasty surgery.  Women complain of:

  • Pain due to excess labia minora tissue and are unable to ride a bicycle, do yoga or exercise comfortably
  • Being uncomfortable wearing a bathing suit or yoga pants due to excess labia tissue that protrudes from their groin region
  • Discomfort with intercourse due to excess labia minora tissue, and experience tearing, chafing, rashes and/or bleeding
  • Self-consciousness becoming intimate because of the appearance of their external genitalia
  • A change in the appearance, length, and redundancy of the labia minora after having children or with age
  • General dissatisfaction with the appearance of this part of their body

Women seeking labiaplasty are old and young, athletic and couch-potatoes, married, divorced or single, heterosexual and homosexual.  There are no stereotypes when it comes to which women are interested in having a labiaplasty.  Certainly, they are NOT looking for “designer vaginas”, nor do they want to look like porn stars.  They “want to look and feel normal”.  

I blog regularly about the labiaplasty procedure, and I always emphasize that it is an extremely personal and private procedure for women.  Women who are looking to change this area of their body do so for physical reasons, cosmetic concerns, or a combination of both.

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Labiaplasty surgery is invasive, but it along the same lines as surgery to pin back “outstanding” ears, to correct a bunion or have a breast reduction, all which are considered commonplace and acceptable in our society.  Are surgeries of the ears, face, feet or breasts done to improve appearance or correct discomfort considered mutilation?  Ridiculous, isn’t it!

Labiaplasty is EMPOWERING  for women, and it is a procedure I am proud to offer my patients, so long as they are appropriate candidates for the procedure.

Surgery is not for everyone, and I have no problem saying “no” to patients if I feel they are not the best candidates for surgery, if they should wait for any reason, or if I have any concerns in general.

Learn more about labiaplasty surgery on my website, and visit me in person by completing our online consultation request form or call 415-923-3067 to speak to our Patient Coordinator Mary Pasache.



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Dr. Karen M. Horton, M.D. - Plastic Surgery, Physicians & Surgeons - Medical-M.D., San Francisco, CA