Labiaplasty, sometimes spelt "labioplasty," is a cosmetic surgery procedure that reshapes the labia and other external areas of the vagina. Generally, women seek out this surgery to augment their appearance, gratification and confidence.
Surgeons reduce the size of the vulva in this two-hour surgery, which is usually done under local anaesthesia, according to CosmeticSurgery.com. Typically, women can resume normal activity after four weeks. Two other techniques for the procedure, the website says, are laser reduction or augmentation for a "youthful appearance."
Candidates for Surgery?
According to the Women's eNews website, labiaplasty was once a procedure mainly chosen by sex workers and models. But in recent years, says CosmeticSurgery.com, self-esteem issues, irritation, discomfort, problems with hygiene and interference with sexual gratification are among the reasons women of all ages and professions opt for labiaplasty. "The numbers for labiaplasty are increasing every year and I think the procedure has finally been accepted in the mainstream," said Dr. V. Leroy Young, who is chair of the emerging trends task force of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Like other cosmetic surgeries, labiaplasty is not cheap. The average cost is between £2,275 and £5,200, according to CosmeticSurgery.com, not including the physician's fee or costs such as anaesthesia. Unfortunately, this surgery is not covered by most medical insurance plans, but doctors typically will work with patients to create a payment plan.
There are many reasons for the variation in pricing, such as the office location, the surgeon's skill level, the physician's fee, anaesthesia fee and the complexity of the surgery. People looking to get the best deal should shop around at local doctors' offices and ask about their pricing. Less-experienced doctors and doctors practicing in more rural areas will charge less. Eugene Renato, a writer at CosmeticSurgeryAdvisors.com, suggests having surgery abroad, in places such as Brazil and India, where it can be less expensive than surgery done in the United States.
Questions to Ask
People considering labiaplasty should interview potential surgeons to learn how long the surgery takes and what kinds of complications are possible. Find out how many similar surgeries the doctors have performed, and if they've ever had their malpractice insurance revoked or denied. Ask if the results you want are attainable, and if they are not what was expected, what the doctor's policy is for correctional surgery. Also, look at before-and-after pictures the doctor may have available, or ask to talk to previous patients about their experiences.