Why Consider Labiaplasty?
More and more women are interested in reduction of the labia minora, the inner lips on the outside the vagina, and to a lesser extent reduction of the larger labia majora and clitoral hood. Reasons for this trend are many: awareness and desire to address swelling of the labia and discomfort that occurs with exercise and sports, inability to wear form fitting clothes or bathing suits, interference during sexual activity, embarrassment, humiliation and sometimes even difficulty maintaining basic hygiene. The fact is, there are innumerable variations in size, shape, color and thickness of vaginal tissues, and like most structures found on the human body they are all variations of NORMAL. Many women are very much aware of the prominent size and shape of their labia yet they are unconcerned about their appearance or interference with everyday activities. What has changed however, is that women who do suffer symptoms or are upset by diminished self image can nowdo something about it. Just as the woman who desires larger breasts has the option of augmentation, or the woman who is extremely uncomfortable with her sizable breasts can choose to have a reduction, labiaplasty offers you a real opportunity to take control of your body. No one, not your spouse, sexual partner or physician can take away your right to reshape these structures if you choose to do so.
So where do you begin? Unlike having cosmetic breast surgery or a tummy tuck, most women find it hard to speak with their friends or physician about labiaplasty. It’s just so very private. Younger women may find it impossible to discuss this with unsympathetic parents when in fact they need their emotional and financial support. How many women have been humiliated by a sexual partner who made an insensitive remark about the size or shape of their labia? How many women spend months gathering up the courage to speak with their gynecologist about vaginal rejuvenation, only to be quickly dismissed and humiliated? Fortunately, you have a wonderful informational alternative, the Internet. The web is not judgmental. In fact, when you go from website to website you will find professionals actually sympathetic to your needs. It is also confidential. You don’t have to discuss your feelings with anyone and yet you can see Before and After photographs and share the testimonials of women who traveled down this path before you.
Searching the Internet
So you decide to take your first step by doing a search on the web. You need to visit many websites not only to learn about vaginal surgeries but to get a feel for the surgeon you will ultimately be placing your trust with. You will discover there are several different surgical techniques, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. Most importantly, since there is no certification process for physicians you’ve really got to do a lot of digging into the surgeon’s credentials, type and quality of training and length of experience with all types of vaginal rejuvenation. You need to view many Before and After photographs and video clips to get a feel for your surgeon’s ability and artistic sense to ultimately determine if he or she can deliver what you envision. You can’t rush this part of the process. And don’t be limited by geography. You should be willing to travel great distances to get the procedure done the way you want it by the most experienced physician.
Contacting A Surgeon
The next step is to contact your future surgeon. After a thorough review of his website you should call the office for a brief chat with the patient care coordinator to answer your general questions. Many of our patients find this to be a comfortable, non- threatening initial step and most women are at ease with this approach. You will also get a feel for the tone of the office and a sense of how you will be treated. If you wish the coordinator can schedule an office consultation and examination with the physician, at which time you will be able to describe the outcome you envision and learn how the physician will do the surgery.
Some women may feel more comfortable making their initial contact by email. The office’s response should express empathy and understanding and be highly comprehensive. The email should include information about the doctor’s credentials, training, experience, location and costs. Travel and lodging assistance for out of town patients should be available as well. If you choose to schedule a consultation after reading the doctor’s email you will be far better prepared when you come into the office.
Yet a third option is to schedule a complimentary telephone or Skype telephone consultation directly with the surgeon, especially if you are unable to come to the office or live a great distance away. I love to use Skype for my long distance and overseas patients since it costs nothing and you get to interact visually as well as verbally.
The Challenge: Making Your Decision
So let’s say you’ve interviewed or researched several surgeons and now you are about to make your decision. You’ve done your diligence, learned as much as you can about his medical training, board certification and credentials. The real issue now is, what formal training and experience does the surgeon have performing labiaplasty, majoraplasty or clitoral hood reduction? What kind of anesthesia is used and what is the accreditation of the surgical facility? Do other doctors refer patients to repair poorly healed vaginal plastic procedures? The bottom line is, how do you determine your doctor’s qualifications and experience when there is no specialty certification process to answer these questions? I have addressed these incredibly important questions on my website under How to Decide upon a Surgeon and I urge you to read it in detail. It applies to every specialist you may ultimately choose to do your surgery.
You may be aware there are several different labiaplasty techniques. I prefer the vertically sculptured or linear technique, which anatomically approximates the reshaped labia. In contrast there is the wedge or pie technique which in my opinion has several drawbacks. If you have an interest in reading about these surgical procedures you can learn about them at Labiaplasty Details. No matter what the procedure you choose you should be able to return to work within 5-7 days.
What To Expect Afterwards
Remember, it is important to have realistic expectations. All specialists strive for the best anatomical outcome, but patients can heal differently. Lack of post-operative compliance such as failure to use medications or starting exercises too soon can have a negative impact on the final outcome. The vast majority of women experience excellent healing. I have not seen infection, scarring or changes in sensation after surgery, and there is no adverse effect on sexual arousal or sensation.
Following your doctor’s post-operative instructions impacts the final result. Conscientious application of mediations, sexual abstinence and restriction of physical activities such as running, spinning, and treadmill use will all promote rapid healing and prevent separation of the edges of the healing labia.
Cost, Financing and Insurance
Finally, you have to consider the cost. The expense of all vaginal rejuvenation procedures is an extremely important factor, but it is not the only factor. The training and experience of your surgeon should be your paramount concern. You only want to go through your surgery once, so your selection of a physician needs to be your first priority. Never make your decision on the basis of cost alone and never feel rushed into a decision. Take your time. You are paying for your surgeon’s expertise, as well as for qualified anesthesia, an accredited surgery center that meets high standards and the professionalism of the entire surgical team. Fees will vary depending upon the complexity of the surgery and length of operating time.