According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the labiaplasty will be a top procedure for women in 2018.
Labiaplasty has grown in popularity over the last few years. The number of labia reshaping procedures totaled 12,000 in 2016, an almost 40 percent increase over the previous year.
Plastic surgeons attribute the increase in demand for labiaplasty to the fact that women have increased access to information about the procedure on the internet.
"Women are searching Google with questions about the labia and what 'normal' labia looks like," said Dr. Mona Alqulali, F.A.C.O.G., Ph.D.
Alqulali is a Clinton, Iowa, OB-GYN who frequently fields questions about the labiaplasty procedure from her patients.
"It’s not uncommon for women to experience changes in their labial tissue during childbirth. Sometimes these changes leave the labia misshaped, asymmetrical, elongated or torn. Other women may have just been born with longer labia than others and feel like they stand out," Alqulali said.
Longer or misshapen labia often make women feel self-conscious about their appearance in certain clothing, like leggings, yoga pants and swimwear.
"Not only do patients report feeling self-conscious or embarrassed in their clothing, but some women also experience pain and friction from their clothing coming into contact with their labia," Alqulali said.
Elongated labia can also make exercise and intercourse painful, uncomfortable or difficult for some women.
The labiaplasty procedure is commonly used to reduce the size of the labia minora but can also be used to treat the labia majora, or outside tissue that protects the vulva and vagina.
There are two types of labiaplasty procedure: surgical and nonsurgical. The surgical procedure uses scalpels to remove elongated tissue, while the nonsurgical labiaplasty uses lasers to remove excess tissue and reshape remaining tissue.
"Soft-tissue dermal fillers like Juvederm can also be used during the labiaplasty procedure to restore volume to areas stretched during childbirth," Alqulali said.
The labiaplasty procedure is not the only one that ASAPS predicts will be popular for women in 2018.
The nonsurgical "Laser Bra-Lift" is also expected to increase in popularity.
Unlike the surgical breast-lift procedure, the new bra-lift procedure is noninvasive. This means no scarring, no long recovery and no risk of infection. The patient is left with lifted breasts that are held up by an "internal bra" of tightened connective tissue.
"Lasers stimulate the body to produce collagen. Increased collagen tightens the skin and connective tissues and pulls the skin taut," Alqulali said.
The breast-lift procedure is a popular choice for women after pregnancy and breastfeeding. The breast-lift is often used in combination with breast-augmentation procedures.
"Many women want their body back after having children, and breast procedures like lifts, reductions and augmentations are frequently requested," Alqulali said.
Laser procedures like the "Laser Bra-Lift" and laser labiaplasty are popular for women because they not only reshape the body after childbirth, but they also do the job quickly.
"Many people want to make changes to their faces or their bodies but want procedures to be done quickly to get back to day-to-day life, work or taking care of their families," Alqulali said.
ASAPS also predicts that dermal fillers will find new uses in 2018, such as eye reshaping.
"Soft-tissue fillers have many benefits and applications, from filling out lines and wrinkles to replacing lost tissue in other areas," Alqulali said.
Another type of injectable expected to make waves in 2018 is a new form of Botox that ASAPS calls "Botox 2.0". The organization is not detailing how it is different from the original, but promises it will yield big benefits and be very popular.
Alqulali is not surprised at the buzz around the new Botox.
"Botox is the most popular injectable in the U.S. because it is fast, requires no downtime and patients see results almost instantly," Alqulali said.
American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Plastic Surgery Statistics 2016. ASPS.
Allure. The 4 Biggest Plastic Surgery Trends for 2018. Allure. 22 December 2017.