Cosmetic surgery has become mainstream in recent years, with countless column inches and prime-time TV devoted to the good – and often the bad – of aesthetic enhancement. However, there is one procedure that women won’t usually talk about and that’s labiaplasty.
By definition, labiaplasty is a plastic surgery procedure to reshape large or uneven labia minora – the inner lips of the vagina – to a smaller, more appealing size and shape. Enlarged labia can not only cause massive distress to women but can also be very uncomfortable or even painful. Women often come to my Leamington cosmetic surgery practice seeking advice and possible treatment because they have always been unhappy with the size of their labia, but pregnancy, childbirth, illness or other hormonal problems may all affect its appearance.
Although it is sometimes possible to have this procedure on the NHS – in fact, it is on the rise with 1,118 labial reductions performed in 2008 compared to 404 in 206 – many women seek treatment privately.
What does a labiaplasty entail?
I perform a labiaplasty, also known as a labial reduction or labial reshaping, under a general anaesthetic usually as a day case, as I find that is the most comfortable for my patients. I take care not to affect the clitoral area and that should never be an issue, despite what some of the horror stories may claim.
Although there is much information on the internet on the ‘designer vagina’ – most of it highly suspect – it’s a relatively straightforward procedure, although it does require good surgical skill and judgement regarding how much tissue to remove to avoid causing vaginal dryness through exposure.
My thoughts on this cosmetic surgery procedure
Although the question of what is ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ brings with it much controversy and difference in opinion, if you feel uncomfortable or distressed, then a good idea would be to discuss your options with a plastic surgeon. I do not believe in pressurising any patients that present at my Leamington cosmetic surgery consultation into treatment, but it can be very helpful to discuss all the pros and cons and learn what can be achieved with surgery.