Labiaplasty is becoming a very popular portion of the Mommy Makeover. The reason for this increased interest in the internal labia of the female vagina is because of the increased visibility of this area of the body. This visibility is directly related to a pattern of both young and older women removing their pubic hairs through shaving, waxing, and laser known as the Brazilian wax, etc.
Once this area became more visible due to hair removal and also due to the increased acceptance of adult films and its mainstream acceptance in our society, women began seeing this portion of the body on other women, and a community standard then developed as to the external appearance of the vagina, mostly referring to the labia minora, but also at times to the labia majora.
Young women and teenage girls being much less modest than their male contemporaries are actually showing this portion of their bodies and discussing it with their girlfriends. This has also hastened the solidification of a community standard as to what looks good and what does not.
In the 20th century due to a lot of pubic hair and very little communication about this portion of the female anatomy and a lack of surgical options, very little attention was placed on this area. Now into the second decade of the 21st century, a community standard of beauty has arisen. Labia minora that hang outside of the labia majora are considered unattractive, and to some extent, looking like “grandma’s vagina”. The physiologic cause of the labia minora to grow in size and therefore hang outside the major lips of the vagina is usually due to pressure from pregnancy and delivery, and also due to hormonal influences. The physiologic purpose for the lips of the vagina is to keep moisture within the vagina. However, as these pieces of vaginal tissue increase in size, they at times become an impediment to intercourse or riding a bicycle, and can now end up being a social embarrassment.
The original surgical treatment to decrease the labia minora is known as the TRIM technique. This technique, while apparently simple in its design, is fraught with many potential complications. This technique also gives the neophyte surgeon the concept that surgery in this area is simple and “anyone can do it”. Nothing could be farther from the truth. There is a limited amount of tissue in this area, and once gone, it is almost impossible to replace.
The technique of choice amongst Board Certified plastic surgeons very experienced in labiaplasty plastic surgery is the WEDGE technique. This technique was invented by Gary Alter, M.D., a Board Certified plastic surgeon from Beverly Hills. Dr. Alter recognized the similarity between the labia minora and the earlobe, and invented a technique similar to one used in earlobe reduction, the WEDGE technique . This technique decreases the chance of asymmetry so often found in the TRIM technique. It also has the amazing ability to decrease the overall diameter of the vaginal introitus, that is removing the laxity of the tissue around the opening to the vagina normally seen post pregnancy. This tighter opening does a better job of keeping moisture in and also increasing friction during intercourse.
Depending on the size of the labia minora, interesting geometric angles are added to the basic WEDGE technique to keep the resulting scar in the gully between the labia minora and labia majora. Labiaplasties, if done correctly, can give both an anatomic and physiologic improvement to this area, as well as increasing a woman’s self-esteem by decreasing embarrassment, not only during intimacy but, at times, when showering and changing clothes in a women’s locker room. Labiaplasty has now gained solid footing along with abdominoplasty and breast surgery as an integral part of the complete Mommy Makeover. Before and after photographs on this surgery can be seen both at breastimplantcenterofhawaii.com and mauibody.com. You can also visit labiaplastyinhawaii.com.