Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery
- Are your vaginal lips, or labia, noticeable when you wear a bathing suit or tight-fitting jeans?
- Do your labia cause you pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse or while riding a bicycle?
- Have large or uneven labia ever embarrassed you in an
If so, you're not alone. With the rising popularity of bikini waxing, many women have become more aware of the appearance of their genitals. And the abundance of sexually explicit material on TV, online and in men's magazines has resulted in many women comparing their genitals to what they see on the screen or in print. In some cases, comments from a sexual partner may also prompt women to seek a way to reshape their uneven or protruding labia.
Years ago, the only women who had labiaplasty, or plastic surgery on their vaginal lips, were swimsuit models or women who worked in sex-related industries. This is changing with the increase in the overall popularity of plastic surgery, as well as the new openness concerning men's and women's sexual issues.
The March 2007 issue of Plastic Surgery News, published by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) reports that some labiaplasty patients simply “have a desire to look neat,” while a majority of patients want the procedure “for a combination of aesthetics and to alleviate discomfort, be it during intercourse, wearing tight clothes or participating in horseback riding and other sports.”
ASPS statistics show that female genital cosmetic surgery is one of the fastest-growing types of cosmetic surgery in the U.S.—increasing 30% from 2005 to 2006 alone. And one of the most common procedures is labiaplasty.
What is labiaplasty?
Labiaplasty is a plastic surgery procedure to reduce and/or balance the size of the labia minora, or the inner lips of the vulva, or external female genitals. The medical term for enlarged labia minora is labial hypertrophy. After labiaplasty, the vulva has a more youthful look as the labia minora no longer protrude outside the outer vaginal lips.
In cases where there is too much fat padding over the mons pubis, or pubic mound, Dr. Parungao may perform liposuction on the mons pubis.
What causes large or uneven vaginal lips?
- Hormonal changes
Who is a candidate for labiaplasty?
You may be a candidate for labiaplasty if you have large or uneven labia minora that cause:
- Pain while exercising or during sexual intercourse
- Hygiene problems such as trapped moisture
- Skin rashes or irritation
- Embarrassment in intimate settings
Who should not have labiaplasty?
You should not have labiaplasty if you:
- Are pregnant or menstruating
- Have complications from an episiotomy
- Have a yeast infection or genital herpes outbreak
- Have problems with bladder incontinence
- Have a prolapsed uterus (your uterus has fallen
into the vaginal canal)
How is labiaplasty performed?
Dr. Parungao performs labiaplasty as an outpatient procedure under twilight or general anesthesia. He removes the excess tissue from the labia minora and uses self-dissolving sutures which dissolve within a week. The length of the scar depends on the amount of tissue removed, but is typically about two inches long.
Patients are up and moving right after surgery, can normally return to work in three to five days, and may resume sexual relations in up to six weeks, depending on the extent of the surgery.
Q. When is the right time for labiaplasty?
A. It's best to plan your labiaplasty for a time when you will be able to take it easy for a few weeks. Just before an out-of-town vacation or right before pregnancy are not good times for this surgery.
Q. What if I plan to have children?
A. Labiaplasty should not interfere with having children, although pregnancy may cause a recurrence of excess labial tissue.
Q. Is labiaplasty cosmetic or reconstructive surgery?
A. That depends on each woman's case. If large or uneven labia are causing medical problems such as trapped moisture resulting in skin rashes and irritation, labiaplasty may be considered reconstructive. If the procedure is done solely for aesthetic reasons, it is considered cosmetic surgery.
Q. Is labiaplasty covered by insurance?
A. If the surgery is medically necessary, it is normally considered reconstructive and may be covered by health insurance. Check your insurance policy to see what benefits you may qualify for if you are considering labiaplasty. Dr. Parungao's office can help you submit the necessary pre-operative paperwork to apply for benefits.
If the surgery is simply cosmetic, insurance will not pay
Newsletters related to “Labiaplasty, Chicago, IL”
For years, I was so uncomfortable - I had no idea something could be done' - April 2010
News releases related to “Labiaplasty, Chicago, IL”
TV shows like Dr. 90210 are making more women aware of labiaplasty - a plastic surgery procedure to correct large or uneven labia minora, or inner vaginal lips. Board-certified plastic surgeon and author Allan Parungao, MD, FACS, says these shows have led many women to question whether their labia are normal.
Oak Park, Ill., plastic surgeon and author Allan Parungao, MD FACS, notes the increase in the number of women from all walks of life opting for labiaplasty, a plastic surgery procedure to reshape the labia minora, or inner vaginal lips.
Labiaplasty, a plastic surgery procedure to reshape the inner vaginal lips, may be considered medically necessary when large or uneven labia minora are causing recurrent infections or problems with urination or feminine hygiene. In cases like these, Chicago-area plastic surgeon Allan Parungao, MD, works with patients to help get the procedure covered by their health insurance.
Women have two sets of genital lips. The labia majora, or outer lips of the vulva (external female genitals) are the two folds of skin and fatty tissue on either side of the vaginal opening; these form the lateral borders of the vulva.
The labia minora are the inner lips of the vulva. These thin stretches of tissue within the labia majora fold and protect the vagina, urethra and clitoris. Normally, the labia minora are hidden between the labia majora, and are visible only when a woman's legs are apart. But some women are embarrassed that their labia minora protrude or are uneven.
I am interested in getting more information about reconstructive labiaplasty. I always thought I would have to live with the pain and discomfort of enlarged labia minora until recently, when I found out there was an option.
Unfortunately, I am a university student, so affording this kind of procedure is going to be difficult. I noticed something about the possibility of the procedure being covered by insurance and I wasn't sure about the process of applying and trying to find out what benefits might cover it.
Please let me know about how much you charge for that kind of procedure and where I can find out about possible insurance coverage for it. Thank you so much!
Thank you for your note. Yes, we can help you get this covered by your insurance. Of course, there are no guarantees that your insurance will pay benefits for reconstructive labiaplasty, but we have had success in navigating this process.
The next step is for you to call our office and make an appointment for your consultation. We will review the labiaplasty procedure, look at before and after photos, and take photos. I can then submit a letter of medical necessity and the photos to your insurance company and we will wait to hear from them.
Your office visit will also be covered by your insurance. Please call my office at 312.642.5252 to set up your consultation. I look forward to meeting you!
Have a question? Ask Dr. Parungao.
I'm 20 years old. Since I was in the 8th grade, I've been having severe irritability and pain because of my uneven labia. I never knew there was a such thing as reconstructive surgery. Everything you explained on your website like the trapped moisture causing skin rashes and irritation are the exact symptoms I have.
I've been too embarassed to seek help for it but I'm afraid something needs to be done. I wanted to know what my options are. I really need to do something about this. Also, is there a cost for a consultation?
Thank you for your note. I am sure this is a very difficult and embarassing situation for you, and I know I can help. Labiaplasty will reduce the excess skin around your vaginal area and decrease the irritation and moisture problems you are experiencing.
We can do the procedure under either twilight (also known as sedation) or under local anesthetic (you are wide awake, but the area has been “numbed”). The postoperative recovery is rather straightforward and your downtime will be minimal. We give you prescriptions for pain pills and antibiotics for afterwards.
We can bill the consultation appointment to your insurance. I'm not sure if your insurance will cover the procedure, but we can ask them and see what they say beforehand. If insurance does not cover it, we have financing plans available with payments as low as $150 per month. If you are not from Chicago, we can help you make travel arrangements.
Thanks again for your note. I look forward to meeting
Have a question? Ask Dr. Parungao.
This information is merely an introduction to labiaplasty. Your next step is to schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Parungao, where he will listen to your personal goals for labiaplasty, evaluate you and advise you on how you can best achieve the outcome you desire.
During your personal consultation, you will also be able to view labiaplasty before and after photos.