Summary: There are some procedures we don’t talk openly about often enough. One of them is certainly labiaplasty. It’s in the news every so often, but due to its sensitive nature, it’s not something people are necessarily posting on their Facebook page. That said, whether we’re talking about Chicago, IL, labiaplasty patients or Anchorage, AL, patients, this procedure is in need of some understanding and some education. We should talk openly about the pros and the cons, as well as the motivations behind the procedure. After all, most patients simply want to feel comfortable in their own bodies. The same could be said for much of plastic surgery’s patients.

Investigating the Reasons for Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery

Among the procedures that are growing in popularity, none of them seem to be climbing the ladder as quietly as labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation. There are quite a few reasons behind labiaplasty’s stealth growth, not least of which is the sensitivity of the subject. For some reason, discussing breast augmentation doesn’t seem nearly as taboo as discussing vaginal rejuvenation (I choose these two to compare simply because they involve two areas of a woman’s body that are highly sexualized in a social context). But there’s some newly released data that may help with understanding the motivations for this particular procedure.

In the United Kingdom and Australia, some vaginal rejuvenation procedures are covered by public funds (that’s just the way medical care works in the UK and Australia—it’s not, by the way, an invitation for political posturing). However, the study seems to mention that, generally, women don’t have a very good idea of what their genitals are supposed to look like. Of course, the study puts it a little more delicately: doctors should not assume that women are well educated when it comes to the looks of their genitals.

Education About the Body

It’s kind of a funny statement to make. On the one hand, it seems completely ridiculous. Because who is in a better position to educate a woman on the look of her genitals than, well, herself? Then again, I’m not really sure anyone knows what their privates are “supposed” to look like—it’s not as though the education in that department is overwhelmingly good, or that people can compare in the same way they would with a nose. It’s, by nature, a more private and personal part of the body. So undergoing vaginal rejuvenation “to fit in” seems somewhat oxymoronic.

Of course, it’s not. Feeling uncomfortable about the size or shape of your genitals can be incredibly debilitating. It’s easy to chalk up the rise in vaginal rejuvenation surgery as, somehow, a side effect of the adult entertainment industry or a desire to have “designer” vaginas. I’m not so sure that’s it. I tend to think that, rather, it’s just about people wanting to feel comfortable in their own skin. When discomfort comes from any body part, you want to get it fixed, but I imagine the discomfort is amplified considerably when it’s originating in such a sensitive and private area. It’s not shocking to me that women want to get that fixed and get it fixed right away.

Opening Up the Lines of Communication

It’s a shame, and I’ve talked about this before, that we’re not more open about procedures such as labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation. Whatever your opinion about these procedures—whether you’re in favor of them or opposed to them—it seems like we could certainly benefit from an open and frank discussion about the pros and cons, as we do with many other things that might be sensitive. I suspect that, because the vaginal area is viewed in a largely sexual context, it’s much more rigidly controlled—by that, I simply mean that it’s more taboo to talk about the vaginal area than the breasts, for example, or the armpit.

And this is true even though the results of the surgeries are, largely, the same. When it comes right down to it, plastic surgery is about making you feel better. And it’s about making you feel better in your own body, no matter the context and no matter the body part. Sure, you need to keep realistic expectations and know what you’re getting into—and what plastic surgery can accomplish and what it can’t. But that’s true with any procedure.

It’s All About a Happy Patient

Let me say this another way, we don’t accuse someone who wants to undergo blepharoplasty of wanting “designer” eyebrows, so why should we throw that accusation at someone who is interested in labiaplasty? There seems to be a double standard there. Because both procedures—an eyelid lift and a labiaplasty—are designed to make the patient feel more youthful, to like what they see in the mirror, and in most cases, the women who undergo those procedures end feeling great about it. They report higher self-confidence, higher satisfaction, and so on. It’s just that one procedure takes place on the face and the other takes place below the belt.

So what I’m getting at is that, while this research helps identify some of the motivations of women looking for labiplasty or vaginal rejuvenation surgery, we need more data. And as long as we keep this particular procedure in the dark, that data will be difficult to come by and women who otherwise would have benefited from this procedure probably won’t. So let’s keep talking about labiaplasty and vaginal rejuvenation and help shed some much needed, non-judgmental light on this procedure.

After all, if it makes you happier, that’s really all that matters.

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