The Beginner’s Guide to Labiaplasty

As the name suggests, labiaplasty is a procedure for altering the folds of skin (or lips) of the vulva, which are called the labia minora and majora.

This form of cosmetic surgery is performed for a number of reasons, the most common of which is a reduction of the labia minora. However, there are a group of operations that fall under the term ‘labiaplasty’. In this blog, we are going to look at what they are, why people choose to have labiaplasty and what the benefits (and disadvantages) are.

History

Although labiaplasty has only recently started receiving mainstream attention, many people will be surprised to learn that the surgery has actually been around since the 1970s.

The first mentioned was in a medical paper in 1978. The article was entitled “Benign Enlargement of the Labia Minor [source].”

Interest in labiaplasty is at an all-time high in Australia.

Google Trends Labiaplasty Searches

Source: Google Trends

Controversy

Labiaplasty has attracted controversy over the years, because it has been linked with the feminist idea of male subjection or how men want women to look. However, many women who have the procedure performed do so for their own cosmetic or functional concerns.

In 2008, the Journal of Sexual Medicine reported on women who underwent the procedure and found that:

  • 32 percent wanted to correct a functional impairment
  • 37 percent had the surgery only for aesthetic reasons and that
  • 31 percent did so for both functional and aesthetic reasons

Why get a Labiaplasty

The human body is not perfect. Not everyone is completely satisfied with what nature endowed them or what happens to them when they age or go through childbirth. Some women feel self-conscious about their appearance when they are with their partner or when wearing a bathing suit in public.

This aesthetic dissatisfaction can lead to self-esteem issues in women, particularly those with hypertrophy, which is excess labial skin. This lack of confidence in their bodies can affect mental well-being and relationships.

Labiaplasty is not just concerned with aesthetic dissatisfaction – it can also address physiological problems. Some women complain about discomfort, irritation while exercising, or pain during intercourse. A lapiaplasty can help eliminate these issues.

How much does it cost?

Depending on the level of private health insurance and if you get pre-approval from the Medicare Claims Review Panel, labiaplasty can cost as little as $2850. It is best to check with your private health insurance provider to determine whether they will cover this treatment.

Without any sort of private health insurance, a labiaplasty will typically cost between $5,000 and $8,000. It is difficult to get a more precise figure, as it depends on the situation and what work is performed.

Dr. Robert Goldman offers payment plans with low interest rates for patients who are unable to pay for the surgery upfront. I am not allowed to advertise any form of payment plan incentive so think this should be changed to something like: “

Why it’s appealing

Increased confidence – The goal of plastic surgery is, first and foremost, to improve the quality of life. Possibly the greatest benefit of labiaplasty is that it has it can improve self-esteem.

Excess skin on the labia minora and majora can affect a woman’s confidence, especially if the labia are visible through clothing. This can be a real concern for women from a cosmetic standpoint, because the labia are visible through underwear or swimwear. Reducing this skin through a relatively easy procedure not only enhances the aesthetic appearance, but also helps the woman feel less self-conscious.

Reduces pain and discomfort – As previously mentioned, labiaplasty can also assist with functional impairment.  Many patients who chose to receive treatment do so because the redundant labia cause pain and discomfort (rubbing/ chafing) from every day activities like exercise and intercourse.

Quick and painless process – There are two main lapiaplasty techniques – the trim method and the wedge technique. Dr. Robert Goldman specialises in the wedge technique, which has advantages over the trim method because:

  • It helps preserve the natural edge of the labia
  • Results appear more natural
  • The labia heal more quickly and with less pain

The procedure takes 1 to 2 hours and patients will receive a light general anaesthetic. When the excess tissue is removed, the wound is closed with dissolvable sutures.

Increase in popularity – More women are getting labiaplasty now than ever before. This is mainly due to increased awareness of the availability of the procedure. Overall patient satisfaction from labiaplasty, which is 95 percent, is another reason why the surgery has risen in popularity.

Why it’s bad

With any surgical procedure, there are risks involved. To ensure full awareness of these inherent dangers it is important for prospective patients to educate themselves and to discuss it properly with their surgeon during the consultation. The main problems that can arise for labiaplasty are:

  • Infection
  • Permanent changes in sensation
  • Ongoing pain
  • Scarring

These risks, however, are unlikely to occur.  post-operative follow-ups are vital in order to avoid any potential problems. The quality of patient care is high in Australia, so avoid opting for medical tourism.

Labiaplasty will also limit patients’ ability to participate in normal activities. Most surgeons will require that patients put aside 4 days for the recovery period, though recovery time may vary depending on circumstances.

Conclusion

Labiaplasty has its critics, but it is important to remember that the surgery is the patient’s choice. The best thing you can do is educate yourself on the procedure and to talk to experienced labiaplasty surgeons like Dr. Robert Goldman who can guide you through the process.

This blog has discussed why people decide to have labiaplasty performed while comparing the benefits and disadvantages. We hope the information presented has given you a better understanding of labiaplasty, so that you can make a well-informed decision about whether the surgery is right for your circumstances.

If you are interested in getting more information on labiaplasty, please book a consultation with Dr. Robert Goldman.

Breast Implant Safety: The Complete Guide

Choosing to undergo breast augmentation surgery is a big decision, so it is important to consider a number of factors before deciding to have the procedure performed.

As with any procedure, there are health risks associated with breast enhancement surgery. Some of the associated complications are not pleasant. However, there is a very small likelihood of these problems occurring. Risks are further diminished if you have the procedure performed by an accredited surgeon in a fully equipped medical clinic or hospital.

Before actually having surgery, surgeons will discuss the possibility of things going wrong, including symptoms and side effects as well as any recommended corrective treatments/further surgery. Anyone considering this surgery should be proactive and educate himself or herself in order to make an informed decision.

Breast Augmentation Safety in Australia

When it comes to breast augmentations, Australia has high standards in regards to safety, and surgeons must adhere to strict codes, as noted by the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons as well as the Therapeutic Goods Administration. ( Federal Government body dealing with the licensing of breast implants)

Because of these safety benchmarks, cosmetic surgery performed in Australia is less likely to encounter surgery mishaps than in destination surgeries.

This is a result of two factors.

  1. Highly trained, accredited surgeons.
  2. The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), which is an Australian government body that approves and regulates the use of medical devices like certain types of saline and silicone filled implants. Think of them as an industry watchdog, who monitor the use of implants and investigates any surgery incidents that occur.

Breast Surgery Risks

There are inherent risks associated with any type of surgery.  With breast implants that risk is roughly 1 per cent [source]. Below is a list of issues a patient may encounter from breast augmentation surgery.

Local Complications

This refers to problems that arise around the breast area because of the implants or the surgery itself.

Potential problems include:

  • Chronic breast pain
  • Infection
  • Numbness of breast or nipple
  • Necrosis (skin death)
  • Hematoma (blood collecting around an implant)
  • Seroma (fluid collecting around an implant)
  • Surgical complications

[Source]

Rupture – Surgery, aging or trauma are just some of the factors of breast implant safety that can lead to a tear or hole in the outer shell of the breast implant. This can lead to leaking or deflation of implants. If this occurs, the implants should be removed.

Implant removal – It is estimated that as high as 20 per cent of women who receive a breast implant will have them removed within 8 to 10 years because of complications.

Capsular contracture – This is a breast implant risk in which the area around the implant hardens, which can cause pain due to tightening tissue according to the FDA. There is no known cause of capsular contracture, but it can often follow infection, seroma and hematoma. If a surgeon classifies capsular contracture as severe, additional surgery may be required to remedy the problem.

silicone implants

Medical Tourism

Despite the financial incentive to have breast enhancement performed overseas, it is much safer to have it done in Australia. The likelihood of needing follow-up surgeries after an overseas breast augmentation may also negate the cost benefit.

What are the risks?

  • Increased rate of infection
  • Hospitals and medical clinics are not equipped for emergencies
  • Surgeons are not accredited to Australian standards
  • Much shorter process
  • Medical ‘holiday’ is restricted because of the time it takes to recover
  • English is second language, making it difficult to communicate with the surgeon and medical staff
  • If something goes wrong, it is hard to understand what recourse can be taken because the customs and laws are unfamiliar
  • No post-operative follow up

For more information, check out this video on the potential risks of breast augmentation surgery.

Despite it being a cheap and popular option for Australians—thousands of people flock to the shore of Thailand each year to have the procedure performed—the quality of the cosmetic enhancement tends to be better in Australia. There are also fewer risks.

For more information about why medical tourism is a risky endeavour, please refer to Medical Tourism: a cost/benefit analysis.

Controversy

There has been a great deal of media attention centred around the question: are breast implants safe? Over the past few decades, controversy has arisen linking silicone-filled breast implants with certain types of cancer and autoimmune diseases. There is, however, no supporting evidence to confirm this negative misconception regarding breast implants and health.

Recovery

Breast enhancement is major procedure and requires significant recovery time. During the first few days to weeks, swelling, pain, discomfort and bleeding are to be expected. Medication and a surgical bra will be provided to alleviate post-operative pain.

When the swelling begins to subside, the patient will be able to be more active, but will still need to avoid strenuous exercise. After 2-3 months, healing should plateau and the patient will be able to gradually introduce more intense exercise into their routine.

To help facilitate healing and reduce the appearance of scarring, it is best to follow the surgeon’s advice exactly. Doing so will also decrease the risk of post-operative complications.

Want a trusted surgeon?

To minimise risk, it is prudent to use an experienced and skilled cosmetic surgeon to perform a breast augmentation. Robert Goldman is a surgeon with those credentials and is a registered specialist surgeon.

He provides his patients with the highest level of care and ongoing support for the best possible results.

If you would like more information about the risks associated with breast augmentations, please don’t hesitate to contact us!