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Labiaplasty – Reasons why women seek this procedure

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A study found differences in what women and men find attractive “down there”. Most women are seeking relief from physical discomfort and less self-consciousness about extra hanging labia tissue rather than wanting to look ‘like a porn star’.

It has been a very busy month for labiaplasties!  Just last week, I performed several labiaplasty procedures in the operating room and saw 6 new patients in consultation this week.  Women were of all different ages, some married, others single, straight or gay, working women or stay-at-home Moms.  There are no stereotypes and women of all demographics find me online for this procedure.

This made me think about commonalities women who are seeking a labiaplasty have.  Reasons why women think about having such a delicate, sensitive area of their body operated on are quite similar, regardless of who they are, what age or stage of life they are, what they do for a living, physical activities they enjoy, etc.

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Here are some of the top reasons why women seek labiaplasty surgery:

  • Women feel uncomfortable with all the extra tissue “down there”
  • Women feel self-conscious changing in public at the gym or the club
  • Women feel like their labia tissue will fall out of thong underwear and cause embarrassment (or they have had this happen!)
  • Women feel uncomfortable riding a bicycle due to extra labia minora tissue that hurts when compressed against the bike seat
  • Women may have discomfort during physical activities such as running, doing yoga or having intercourse
  • Women need to move the extra flaps of mucosa and skin (labia minora) out of the way so that they can pee straight (yes, this is true!)
  • The extra tissue gets stuck to their inner thigh when not being held in place by undergarments, causing pain and irritation
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Labiaplasty is nothing to be embarrassed about, and it can greatly help improve comfort with physical activities and improve body image and self-esteem for a woman.

How can labiaplasty help?  

Labiaplasty helps to address all the issues above in a simple, outpatient procedure that takes just under two hours to perform.  I prefer to bring my patients to the operating room so that they are asleep, completely relaxed, with the benefit of additional local anesthetic on board when they wake up.  I always wear my surgical “loupes” (microscope glasses) so that the anatomy is greatly magnified and the most accurate and detailed repair can be done.

Labiaplasty does NOT involve surgery of the inner vagina, nor does it do any magic to “tighten the vaginal walls”.  Hear my thoughts on this misnomer that is being popularized by some in my profession, perhaps to get attention.  Learn more about the procedure on my labiaplasty website page and in my blog posts.  See before & after photos of labiaplasty – just DON’T look at them at work or in a public place!

Thinking that you might be interested in a labiaplasty is nothing to be embarrassed about!  Many women did not even know this procedure existed until they went online to research “am I normal?” and “what can be done to help me?”.

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The goal I have for my labiaplasty patients is to allow them to move forward after surgery and forget this area of their body was ever a problem for them!

My answer to “is this normal?” is YES, it is totally normal!  However, just like having a hooked nose, outstanding ears or a body part that is interfering with you living the life you want to live comfortably (such as a breast reduction); if it is affecting your quality of life in a negative way, then it is very reasonable for a woman to consider labiaplasty for any or all of the reasons above.

Labiaplasty enables women to feel more comfortable, and lose their self-consciousness about this region of their body.

The goal I have for my labiaplasty patients is to allow them to move forward after surgery and forget this area of their body was ever a problem for them!  Most of my patients are very happy they have had surgery, and they do forget about this issue altogether after they have healed!

What is the recovery after labiaplasty?  

Every patient’s recovery is different, but exercise can resume in 4-6 weeks, having sex around 6 weeks and usually only one week off work is needed.  By three months, the area is well on the way to its new form and at a full year, there are little signs of surgery.  In fact, I encourage my patients to make sure they tell their GYN doctors they have had a labiaplasty because often the area looks so normal that an unsuspecting eye would never notice!  THAT is the goal.

Learn more about labiaplasty surgery by reading my educational blog posts about labiaplasty, or call 415-923-3067 to schedule a consultation to learn more in person.  Complete our online consultation request form to be contacted by email.

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