Labiaplasty in puberty

The number of teenagers seeking Labiaplasty is on the rise

But what should they be careful about?

Labiaplasty is the third most sought after procedure globally.  Apart from Brazil, which is the country with the most labiaplasties, these procedures have tripled in the U.S.  In the U.K., from 500 Labiaplasty procedures in 2001, their number reached 2000 in 2011. There is an increasing trend also in Australia, where procedures have more than doubled from 707 in 2003, to 1584 in 2013.

Attention has been drawn to the fact that it is not only adult women choosing to change the view of their genitalia. Young girls, even teenagers are also interested.  In Australia, the number of women seeking Labiaplasty in the ages 15-24 is similar to those at the ages of 25-44.  Furthermore, this trend does not apply solely to Australia, but it has a general incidence.

Obviously, we are aware of the reasons for which older women resort to Labiaplasty. It has to do with normal labour and age, which could alter the appearance of the labia.  But why younger girls should appeal to a specialised physician seeking for Labiaplasty?

Why is there an increase in teenagers?

As Dr. Nikos Naoum, President of the Hellenic Society of Cosmetic and Reconstructive Gynaecology (HSCG), explains:  The teenage period is a very sensitive period during which girls are very occupied with the changes occurring in their body and appearance.  In teenage girls, there is a trend in removing the hair from the sensitive area, while they have access to images and videos online.  These may create insecurity about any anatomical peculiarities in the area, due to the inevitable comparison.  Let’s not forget that for some girls, sexual life or exploration around it begins at that age.  This further reinforces insecurity, Dr. Naoum concludes, and continues with the following:

But we do not want to perform procedures on insecure girls.  For these reasons, the first and foremost objective is to property inform and discuss with them about any insecurities they may have.  In any case, it is true that the request from a large portion of women is not irrational.  There is a percentage of girls and women with dysmorphias or anatomical features that raise concerns.  Due to better and more easy-to-access information, these can be spotted earlier, either by themselves or by their mothers. The occurrence of having visits by mothers because they are concerned about the appearance of the sensitive area in their young girls is something ordinary.  However, there is another reason we receive visits for Labiaplasty. This has to do with the disturbance and pain experienced by girls that work out, do sports, or dance.  Obviously, in this case, there may be concerns about the appearance of the area, when they are wearing sports clothes or dancing costumes.

Which is the most frequent problem? 

The most frequent problem, for which younger ages come to us, is the excessive size of the outer labia.  This is usually due to hereditary reasons, genetic composition, and the anatomy of the body, or even due to loss of weight (which is frequent in adolescence).  In this case, the large or hypertrophic labia lips are reduced and the loose skin around the clitoris is removed.  The procedure takes place using a CO2 laser of the latest generation, in combination with surgical incisions, if considered necessary.  Conscious sedation is used (mild anesthesia performed through the IV administration of speciifc medicines by the anesthesiologist, along with local anesthesia).  Finally, the opposite condition, lip atrophy, is treated effectively by increasing volume through fat transfer or by injecting hyaluronic acid.

What should younger ages take into consideration?

The most important is to consult a specialised physician who is aware of the anatomy of the area.  Procedures, if not performed by specialised persons, could be erroneously performed or lead to amputations.  This procedure is performed in sites that include all the nerves used to stimulate the area, the so-called erotogenous zones. For this reason, they must consult someone who is very knowledgable about the anatomy of the area.  One certain thing is a discussion with the physician should take place before any procedure.  Younger women, and especially teenagers are prone to great insecurity.  Sometomes, it is better to delay a procedure, if the girl has not become an adult and has not matured.  However, we are well aware that if we give a solution to her cause of anxiety, we will bolster her confidence immediately.  Therefore, our approach is customised to the specific person in question.

In any case, our experience shows that women of older age that come for a solution to us have been always concerned about the peculiarities of their vagina.  That is, from the time they were teenagers.  To this end, delaying Labiaplasty is futile, since it could have improved a woman’s quality of life several years earlier.