Labiaplasty, a procedure that reduces and reshapes the external lips of the vagina, is currently the fastest growing plastic surgery.

Reasons for Labiaplasty

Vaginas and labias come in all shapes and sizes. Large labia majora, the outer lips of the vulva, and labia minora, the inner lips, can cause discomfort, dryness and irritation. Extra tissue in the labia can also create a bulge when wearing tight clothing, causing some women to be self-conscious when wearing things like yoga pants and bikinis.

History of Labiaplasty

The first mention of labiaplasty in medical literature occurred in the 1970s and was specific to correcting congenital abnormalities. In 1984, a medical journal published the first record of labiaplasty for purely aesthetic reasons. The procedure was more common in the 1990s, but in the last ten years, OBGYNs have seen its popularity skyrocket. Many attribute the rise of the labiaplasty to more open discussion around the vagina, and trends such as the Brazilian bikini wax and tighter fashion.

Current Trends in Labiaplasty

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reported nearly a 300% increase in labiaplasty procedures in 2016 over the prior year. While some women seek labiaplasty to correct a functional impairment, over two-thirds of patients opt for the procedure to for aesthetic reasons only. Your OBGYN can discuss your concerns and options.

The Procedure

Another reason women are seeking labiaplasty in higher numbers is the convenience of the procedure. Typically outpatient, the process takes about an hour. When not combined with other vaginal rejuvenation procedures, labiaplasty can be performed in your gynecologic surgeon’s office using local anesthesia.

Choosing a Gynecologic Surgeon

Since it is considered a cosmetic procedure, the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) will not designate any vaginal rejuvenation procedure a subspecialty. While there is no special certification required to perform a labiaplasty, there are several training programs your gynecologic surgeon can participate in to learn the procedure. You should ask your gynecologic surgeon about their experience in labiaplasty prior to having the surgery.