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.
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.
Source: Google Trends
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
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.
Excess skin on the labia minora and majora can affect a woman, 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 enhances the aesthetic appearance.
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 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:
- Permanent changes in sensation
- Ongoing pain
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.
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.