Labiaplasty is on the rise. Here’s why women say they had the controversial plastic surgery procedure.

“I was still upset about the appearance of my labia ... ”

Emily Gavaldon says she’s never felt comfortable with her labia. Her right labia, she tells Yahoo Life, was “much larger” than her left, making her feel “ashamed” and “embarrassed” — even though her gynecologist insisted she was “perfectly fine” and that her vulva was “normal.”

“I was still upset about the appearance of my labia,” the 23-year-old Colorado native explains. “I would ‘tuck it in’ when wearing a bathing suit and never let my boyfriend look down there. Later in my late teens, it began to affect my sex life immensely. I was so scared to reveal myself to anyone.”

It wasn’t until she went to beauty school and spoke with one of her peers that she heard about labiaplasty, a plastic surgery procedure that alters the inner folds of skin that are part of the vulva called the labia minora and, less commonly, the hair-bearing outer layer called the labia majora …

“Once I was given my before and after pictures, tears ran down my face and I couldn’t thank the doctor and staff enough. They did an amazing job.” 

What is labiaplasty?

Labiaplasty itself can be a fairly simple procedure that can be done with local as opposed to general anesthesia, depending on the patient’s pain tolerance, according to Dr. Gordon K. Lee, a plastic and reconstructive surgeon and professor of surgery at Stanford Medicine.

“Typically, the area is numbed with an injection of local anesthetic,” Lee tells Yahoo Life. “The extra skin is then removed. There are different techniques and ways of doing that” — namely, the trim method (extra tissue is cut and then stitched up) and the wedge method (a triangular wedge is removed, and the scar is hidden). He adds: “Patients can typically go home the same day.”

Why do women get labiaplasty?

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Labiaplasty is on the rise. Nearly 19,000 labiaplasty procedures were performed in 2021, up 36% from 2020, according to statistics from the Aesthetic Plastic Surgery National Databank. It’s a trend that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists expressed concern about in 2017, especially given the rise in teens interested in the procedure.

What are the potential risks of labiaplasty?

As with any type of surgery, labiaplasty isn’t without its risks — which can include bleeding, removing too much or too little tissue, infection, scarring and loss of sensitivity …


Does labiaplasty treat a physical condition, or a psychological one? Comment below. 


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