The American Society of Plastic Surgeon’s annual recently published their 2016 statistics, which showing new trends in cosmetic surgical procedures. One particular procedure that increased in popularity is labiaplasty, or the surgical alternation of the labia. In fact, labiaplasty increased 39 percent over 2015, with over 12,000 procedures performed in 2016.
The procedure has gained popularity as more and more women are opting for bikini area grooming such as waxing or shaving. As a byproduct of these new grooming habits, they are becoming more aware of the appearance or shape of their labia- which leaves some women feeling self-conscious.
Women who are self-conscious about their labia shape or size are learning about labiaplasty as an option to change their appearance through tools like the internet and social media platforms, where they can read about the experiences of others who have chosen to undergo the procedure. They can also search for and connect with physicians who perform the labiaplasty surgery. One such physician is Dr. Mona Alquali, M.D., Ph.D., FACOG. Alqulali is a Clinton, Iowa OB-GYN who performs the labiaplasty procedure.
"Many women interested in labiaplasty come in concerned with the idea that their labia is too large," Alqulali said.
These patients often report being uncomfortable with their elongated labial tissue because it causes them pain or discomfort during intercourse, or in tight clothing like yoga pants, leggings or swimwear.
Although labiaplasty has increased in popularity, it only represents a small number of cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2016. All told, there were 17.1 million aesthetic procedures performed on patients last year, with 1.8 million of this number being surgeries.
The top surgical procedure in 2016 was implant breast augmentation, and liposuction coming in at second place. Rhinoplasty, also known as the nose job, eyelid lift surgery and facelift procedures round out the rest of the popular surgery list.
Although Alquali does not perform implant augmentation, she does perform breast reduction surgery on patients who are looking to reduce the size of their breasts.
"Patients looking for breast reduction often experience back, neck and shoulder pain because of their large or pendulous breasts, and many times feel uncomfortable in their clothing," Alqulali said.
Additionally, liposuction procedures can help resculpt and shape patients who have lost weight or simply want a more shapely physique.
"Liposuction is one way patients are choosing to reshape their bodies," Alqulali said.
She cautions patients to wait until they are finished having children, or have reached the end of their weight loss journey.
The ASPS report also listed the top minimally invasive cosmetic procedures for 2016. Botulinum toxin type A, popularly known under names such as Botox, Dysport or Xeomin, was the number one minimally invasive cosmetic procedure last year. This injectable helps to prevent signs of aging like creases and wrinkles by temporarily paralyzing facial muscles that cause the repeated actions that result in wrinkling or creasing.
Chemical peels were listed second in the top five cosmetic procedures in 2016. Chemical peels are a skin rejuvenating treatment to treat wrinkles, fine lines and scarring. During the chemical peel procedure, chemical acid solutions like glycolic acid or citric acid are applied to the face in order to create a controlled burn of the top layers of the skin.
"Once the burning stops, the skin blisters and peels, and the patient is left with new, fresh skin," Alqulali said.
Microdermabrasion and laser hair removal are two other procedures that were also in the top minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures list.
"Microdermabrasion involves the sloughing off the top layer of skin, in order to reveal new skin underneath," Alqulali said.
The top layer of skin is often clogged with debris from makeup to environmental pollutants. Microdermabrasion also removes light scarring, wrinkles and sun damage by using tiny aluminum oxide crystals to scrape the skin.
Laser hair removal is also an excellent option for many patients looking to remove unsightly thick or dark hair. Patients may select laser hair removal for the face, arms, legs or bikini area.
This wide variety of MedSpa procedures in addition to other cosmetic surgery and skin care procedures continues to grow in popularity across the country.