Dr. Widder discusses new trends in plastic surgery and labioplasty is a growing area of interest for many women. A detailed description of the procedure and variations in approach are presented.
Q: Doctors generally go to additional seminars and meetings to learn new techniques and to maintain Board Certification. What have you studied in recent meetings?
I usually maintain my Continuing Medical Education (CME) by taking a written test. Recently, however, I went to a week-long meeting in New York because I wanted to learn about labioplasty.
Q: What is the labioplasty procedure?
Labioplasty is becoming a very hot procedure. Women are asking for it. I wanted to learn more about it. Basically, labioplasty changes the appearance of parts of the vulva, mainly the labia minora and/or labia majora.
There are two procedures for labioplasty of the labia minora – the Wedge and the Trim. You can remove a wedge and suture the two ends together, or you can just trim the excess and close the wound.
Q: What are some of the reasons a woman might choose labioplasty?
For certain women, after having children, the labia minora hangs down and is unattractive. It might even protrude out from underwear or a bikini. Most of these cases are post child delivery, but some women, even without delivery, have large labia minora. It is rare, but there are also children and teenagers who have this problem. Unusually large labia can occur as a congenital anomaly. The aging process can also cause the condition.
Q: How do these procedures, the Wedge and the Trim, work?
During the Wedge procedure, a triangular shaped piece of the labia minora is cut away. The triangle that is cut, goes from the outer edge of each of the labia minora, and the tip of the triangle goes toward the bottom near the mucosa or the inner layer of the vagina. So, it is cut like a triangle and then the wound is closed in layers. The Trim method involves literally just trimming off of the excess labial tissue.
One of the presenters from South America spoke about one of the challenges with the Wedge procedure. Some women are unhappy with having a dark color of the labia. This can happen with women of any race. For this presenter, a common complaint from her patients has been both large labia minora and significant dark pigmentation. The Wedge procedure leaves pigment on the leftover labia. So this presenter chooses to use the Trim method. She just trims the excessive labia minora and gets rid of all the pigmented tissue. That is the advantage of the trim. The advantage of the Wedge is that the scar is much shorter. For certain patients, that’s important. It was good to learn that you can mix and match the procedure to the priorities of the patient.
Now there is also the clitoral hood which connects to the labia minora. Whenever you do labioplasty on the labia minora you have to extend the incision up into the clitoral hood. Redundant skin can also reside there and if you don’t take care of it, the clitoris protrudes. They recommend taking a lateral wedge also from the clitoral hood and tightening the skin in the area.
Then you have the labia majora which is a whole different procedure. With aging, sometimes women lose volume in the labia majora and the skin becomes redundant. For that, usually what is done is a crescent excision to remove excess. Many patients also have the fat injection to plump them up.
Q: Do you currently perform labioplasty?
No, I haven’t yet offered these procedures. I have given something of a lift in the course of a tummy tuck. In some cases, it isn’t enough during a tummy tuck to only pull the abdominal skin down, but you also have to pull the pubic skin up. That corrects the whole droopy section which involves the vagina. In more significant cases, you really have to have a separate procedure.
At the meeting in New York, I learned about several other more specialized procedures. There is the clitoral lift and G-Spot enlargement. There is also tightening of the vagina, during which an incision is made and the muscle is tightened. Those presentations were interesting, but I won’t provide those particular procedures. I specialize in aesthetic, not function.
In the coming months, I plan to travel to study with two doctors – one in Boston and another who practices in both New York and Los Angeles – both of whom are very good doctors and provide labioplasty regularly. Only when I feel very well-versed in basic labioplasty, will I will begin to offer it as a service to my patients. I am looking forward to visiting with them and learning more.
To learn more about labioplasty or other cosmetic procedures contact Widder Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery in Northern Virginia for a free consultation: http://www.widderplasticsurgery.com/contact.php. Or call: (703) 506-0300