Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure performed to reshape the labia minora , the inner "lips" of the vulva. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), the number of people seeking to change the appearance of their lips has been on the rise since the organization began tracking them in 2015.
The 2016 ASPS statistical report showed that the number of labiaplasties performed this year increased by 39% .
News of the growing popularity of labiaplasty may lead you to believe that women do it for cosmetic reasons, out of a desire to conform to what they think is normal or more attractive. However, this is probably far from the main reason why most labiaplasty operations are performed.
Why is a labiaplasty needed?
The size and shape of the labia is as individual as the color of the eyes, and the range of "normal" is wide and deep. However, when a person's lips are particularly elongated, the excess tissue can cause discomfort or interfere with normal function.
An athlete with long lips may find tissue adhering to the leg, for example, during physical activity. Protruding lip tissue can make the bike seat uncomfortable.
And yes, there are people who decide to have a labiaplasty for cosmetic reasons, but according to ASPS, they are rarely influenced by some supposed beauty norm.
Some people who find their inner lips to be abnormally long may feel embarrassed by the appearance of their genitals , causing them emotional or psychological stress during sexual intercourse or while wearing a thong or bathing suit. The lips can also be evident in tight yoga pants.
In a very small study published in the Journal of Aesthetic Surgery in 2016 in which 14 women undergoing labiaplasty were asked what led them to undergo surgery, some mentioned improvements in appearance or sexual well-being, but comfort issues physics were equally common. .
In fact, ASPS reports that most women who undergo this fairly simple and straightforward procedure choose it for practical reasons.
What to expect from your surgery
To perform a labiaplasty, the surgeon simply cuts away the excess tissue so that the labia minora are perfectly seated inside the labia majora, the outer lips of the vulva. This can be done under local or general anesthesia, and recovery is usually quick and easy.
ASPS recommends taking a week to work to relax and recover from labiaplasty by wearing loose, comfortable pants and a pad to absorb minor bleeding. If you have this procedure, your healthcare provider may also recommend that you not use tampons for the first period thereafter. You should return to your normal activities within a month.