There is much to-do in the media these days about women changing their bodies below the belt—specifically, the Brazilian Butt Lift, Vaginal Rejuvenation, and Labiaplasty. Most articles characterize this surgical attention to lady-parts as a purely aesthetic trend. After all, the big butt craze started with our national fascination with the natural booty of Jennifer Lopez, which soon ignited an explosion of butt envious babes like the Kardashians. Well-endowed as they are, they too went bigger. Before long, women were having butt implants, fat, silicone and other materials put into their rumps to ride the trend.
Now we’ve moved around the corner to a new address: female genitalia. Although no celebrity is taking the credit for starting this trend, vaginal rejuvenation and labiaplasty are making the news.
There has been a surge in the popularity of vaginal rejuvenation. The American Society of Plastic Surgery reports a 44% increase in the number of procedures performed in 2014 over 2013. At Changes Plastic Surgery & Spa in San Diego, Dr. Gilbert Lee has been performing vaginoplasty (surgically tightening the vagina) and labiaplasty for years. Dr. Lee reports a 48% increase in the number of vaginoplasty and labiaplasty procedures performed in 2015 versus 2014.
But is vaginal rejuvenation a fad, a fashion? It’s hard to say. The International Society of Sexual Medicine reported in 2011 that 87% of vaginal rejuvenation patients were undergoing the procedure for purely aesthetic reasons. They attribute the increase to the influence of the porn industry. The experience at Changes Plastic Surgery proves contradictory. Our female patients are truly looking for vaginal rejuvenation to please themselves, not an audience.
Perhaps this testimonial from a patient says it all:
“I have used Changes Plastic Surgery for a number of procedures over the past 5 years. Despite exceptional results from Dr. Gilbert Lee and his staff, I was quite apprehensive about discussing a vaginal rejuvenation with my husband or with Dr. Lee. While my sex life was very satisfying, I knew it could improve. Due to childbirth, my vagina felt looser. Like most women, I’m uncomfortable talking about intimate sexual issues. The discussion with my husband was wonderful. He totally supported the idea of me improving my body and removing anything negative from our sex life. I inquired at Changes about the procedure. Dr. Lee was very professional and confident he could improve my body. I am now almost 3 months post surgery and the results have far exceeded my expectations. Intercourse feels like before I had children.”
Labiaplasty, which is a procedure that alters the labia minora of the vulvar area, for many women today is a means of taking control to improve physical comfort and self-esteem.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ISAPS), in 2015 there were 8,745 labiaplasty surgeries in the US, excluding those performed as part of vaginal rejuvenation procedures. In 2016, that number rose by 23 percent to 10,774 outside of rejuvenation. The numbers for 2017 are in for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons; this group alone performed 10,253 labiaplasty procedures during the year. This may not even fully reflect the popularity of the procedure in 2017; ISAPS cites labiaplasty as one of the trends to watch for in 2018, leaping 45 percent from 95,010 procedures performed worldwide in 2015 to 138,033 in 2016.
Most Common Reasons Women Have Labiaplasty
Research has shown that the most common reason for labiaplasty by far is to improve physical comfort. Women who choose the procedure often have experienced hypertrophy or swelling in the tissues of the labia minora, causing them to hang much lower than average. This makes physical activities like riding a bike or a horse feel prohibitively uncomfortable. Women also choose this procedure because of uncomfortable itching and irritation.
This physical issue can even make sex painful. Women report that the tissue of their labia minora will “catch” or become twisted, or rub too much during sex. This turns a night of pleasure into a painful experience.
Of course, some women also want to make a change that they see as physically more appealing—but according to the research on hand, although that’s a common reason given by patients for the procedure, it is nearly always secondary to pain and discomfort. Of the patients that reported feeling self-conscious about the appearance of their labia minora, most reported that their labia minora were visible through clothing—something most of us can probably relate to seeing as a negative.
In any event, the labiaplasty has a very high rate of patient satisfaction, which signals that the patients who undertake it are achieving their goals.
Q: Do I have to go to the hospital for a labiaplasty?
A: At Changes, Dr. Gilbert Lee uses a wedge excision to alter the labia under local anesthetic right here in the office.
Q: How involved is the labiaplasty procedure? How long does it take?
A: The procedure takes about an hour, and you can go home and rest afterward.
Q: How much does labiaplasty cost?
A: The average fee for the procedure is $3,500.
Q: How much downtime will there be after my labiaplasty?
A: Most patients can return to work in 2 to 5 days.
Q: How long before I can have sex again?
A: Most patients can resume sexual relations within 2 to 3 weeks.
FAQs: Vaginal Rejuvenation
Q: What happens in vaginal rejuvenation surgery?
A: A vaginal rejuvenation is a surgical procedure which tightens the vagina. Redundant vaginal tissue is removed, the muscles of the vaginal canal are tightened, and the vagina is made smaller (narrower).
Q: Does it need general anesthetic?
A: This procedure must be performed under general anesthetic.
Q: How involved is this surgery? How long does it take?
A: The procedure takes approximately one hour to perform.
Q: What kind of downtime can I expect after vaginal rejuvenation?
A: The recovery is quick and easy. Most patients experience only mild soreness.
Q: How long before I can have sex again?
A: Most patients can resume sexual relations within about 4 weeks.
Get the Facts on Labiaplasty and Vaginal Rejuvenation
Individuals who seek plastic surgery whether for reconstructive or cosmetic reasons have as many reasons for doing so as there are fads at any given time. In the end, a woman’s catalyst for undergoing vaginal rejuvenation or labiaplasty has very little to do with what is trending, and everything to do with self-esteem and personal pleasure.
If you’re curious about labiaplasty or vaginal rejuvenation, get the facts. Privacy and anonymity are yours. Changes are located in San Diego, CA in the beautiful Torrey Hills community. Dr. Gilbert Lee is a triple board-certified plastic surgeon and has been awarded the Top Doc in Plastic Surgery award since 2007.
Schedule your consultation to find out more about the hottest trends in plastic surgery now.