Women have been demonized for awhile for the so-called ‘designer surgery’.
They are labeled as being vain, obsessed with porn, or wanna-be porn stars.
A leading surgeon is speaking out to debunk these myths, saying that most are having surgery to reduce the size of their labia – the inner ‘lips’ of the vagina – because the problems the face range from tearing, and pain to severe psychological distress.
The labia are lips which protect the vagina and birth canal.
There are inner labia – the labia minora – which are thinner, and the outer labia – the labia majora, which have more tissue and fat.
They naturally vary in size and shape, but some women are dissatisfied or distressed about the appearance of their labia, even when they are classified medically as perfectly normal.
NHS figures for 2010 show a five-fold rise since 2001 and one London-based surgeon has seen an 80 per cent rise in labiaplasty procedures between 2013 and 2014.
The surgery involves reducing the size of a woman’s labia minora to make them more symmetrical and smaller than the labia majora.
WHAT IS A LABIAPLASTY? From the Daily Mail:
A labiaplasty is a surgical procedure to reduce the size of the labia minora – the flaps of skin either side of the vaginal opening.
Most labiaplasty operations are done by private clinics as cosmetic surgery, to change the appearance of the female genitals.
Occasionally, there may be a medical need for the operation (for example, because the tissue is affected by disease), in which case it might be covered by the NHS.
However, the NHS doesn’t routinely provide this operation.
It’s natural and normal for a woman to have noticeable skin folds around the vaginal opening and, in most cases, this shouldn’t cause any problems.
Some women are dissatisfied with or distressed about the appearance of their labia, even when they look perfectly normal to the health professional examining them.
A labiaplasty involves shortening or reshaping the vaginal lips, a bit like shortening a hem on a dress.
It is usually performed by a gynecologist or plastic surgeon.
The unwanted tissue is cut away with a scalpel or possibly a laser, and the loose edge may be stitched up with fine, dissolvable stitches.
It can be carried out using either a general anesthetic or local anesthetic with sedation, and the whole procedure takes about one to two hours.
However there is a lack of research investigating how effective this procedure is.
This means there’s no guarantee it will achieve a long-lasting desired effect, and there are short and long term risks to consider.
Look, think about it this way. If you were hurt anyplace else on your body, would you hesitate at all? Of course not. So if you’re in pain, go see you OB/GYN and check out your options – you are not alone.
Written by Katie McGuire. Follow Katie on Twitter @GOPKatie