Labiaplasty, once considered taboo, has gained popularity over the last five years, with women from all over the world interested in this cosmetic procedure. Board certified, celebrity plastic surgeon, Dr. Alexis Parcells, MD, has performed hundreds of labiaplasties in her office every year.
The trend has been attributed to the aesthetic, functional and sexual reasons that motivate women to seek this surgery. Women are now becoming more comfortable with changing what concerns them about their bodies.
"Labiaplasty is gaining mainstream awareness as a straightforward solution to a common concern," says Dr. Parcells. "My hope is that women of all ages who are insecure about this feel empowered to get good information and decide if this procedure will help improve their well-being and self-confidence."
Labiaplasty Procedure Basics
A labiaplasty is a cosmetic skin procedure in which the inner labial skin of the labia (labia minor) is trimmed and tucked behind the outer labia (labia majora). The procedure, which Dr. Parcells performs in-office with local numbing medication (no sedation or general anesthesia) takes about 30 minutes.
Related: Study Explores Quality of Life Before and After Labiaplasty
Patients are able to drive home from the procedure, and most patients are back to light routine activities by day three or four. While full recovery takes around six weeks, many patients are back to work within seven days. Dr. Parcells sees patients ranging in age from 18 to 45 for labiaplasties and performs consultations and follow-ups pre and post procedure.
According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, labiaplasty is one of the cosmetic operations with the largest increase in the annual rate of the procedure. The satisfaction rate of the surgery is high, as well. Patients of this procedure report a 96% improvement in self-confidence and comfort in wearing tight clothing.
Increased quality of life and self-esteem levels following cosmetic surgery to the face and body have been reported, and patients report a significant improvement in sexual function, including decreased pain and increased enjoyment.
Dr. Parcells believes that in order to destigmatize labiaplasty procedures, it is also essential for gynecologists, pediatricians, and primary care providers to know that this can be safely addressed without anesthesia, and to give patients resources and education to help women navigate their concerns about this part of their body. There are minimal risks, and the procedure will not affect sensation long-term.