Labioplasty is not typically on the list of covered items on most health insurance plans, although each plan does have its own set of specifications. Labioplasty, which consists of reducing the size of the vagina’s inner lips, is considered a cosmetic procedure and health insurance policies are not known for covering procedures that are not medically necessary.

The procedure is not recognized by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, according to a Toronto Sun report referenced by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The society also says the procedure remains largely taboo in the world of plastic surgery, although it has been featured on a medical show broadcast on mainstream TV.

What show featured labioplasty?

The ABC show “The Doctors” had a segment featuring a woman who had undergone labioplasty after complaining that her large labia brought her continuous suffering and emotional distress. The 23-year-old woman said she felt she was deformed in that area and chose the procedure to correct that perceived deformity.

What is cosmetic-gyn?

Labioplasty is one of a number of what has become known as cosmetic-gyn procedures, which are aesthetically enhancing surgeries or procedures focused on the female reproductive organs. Cosmetic-gyn is a relatively new field but it already has several procedures on its list, including labioplasty, vaginoplasty, and perineoplasty.

Vaginoplasty is a surgery designed to make the vagina tighter and reduce laxity of associated muscles. Perineoplasty is designed to make the vagina’s external muscles tighter, while reducing the size of the opening to make the vagina appear smaller. Labia augmentation is another option, with the procedure meant to increase the size of the labia.

What are the risks of labioplasty?

All surgeries, whether for cosmetic reasons or medical reasons, come with a level of risk and labioplasty is no different. The Mayo Clinic outlines an entire list of risks associated with cosmetic surgery as well as potential complications.

These include infection at the site of the surgery or incision, which can lead to severe scarring and may even necessitate additional surgeries. Scarring can also be accompanied by a breakdown in skin, which happens when your existing, healthy skin and the healing skin separate from each other. This too, can require additional surgical procedures.

You also run the risk of developing complications from the anesthesia, with conditions such as blood clots, pneumonia, or death. Fluid may build up under your skin or you may experience abnormal bleeding. Bleeding may be severe enough to require yet another procedure or even a blood transfusion.
Another complication, which can be especially detrimental in the event of a labioplasty, is nerve damage in the area. Nerve damage can end up being permanent, resulting in irrevocable tingling or numbness.

What makes someone a good or bad candidate for labioplasty?

Anyone considering labioplasty should also be free of certain physical and mental health issues that decrease their standing as viable candidates for the procedure. Physical ailments that increase the risk of complications include lung or cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and diabetes.

Such candidates are more likely to suffer from blood clots, heart attack, stroke, or pneumonia associated with the surgery. Smoking can also slow down the overall healing process, as well as increase the overall risks.

Mental health issues that can reduce a candidate’s viability for labioplasty include a number of items from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons referenced at WomensHealth.gov. Labioplasty may not be a good choice for people who are in the midst of an emotional trauma or recently underwent an emotional crisis.

Traumatic events, such as a divorce, job loss, or death of a loved one, can prompt some people to think they can make everything less painful if only they could change the way they look. It is only after a person successful works through her emotional turmoil that labioplasty should even be considered.

Perfectionists with unrealistic expectations are not good candidates for labioplasty, either. Their perfectionist nature makes them bad candidates for any type of cosmetic procedure, as they are most likely to never be satisfied with their appearance and continue to seek surgeries or other means indefinitely.

Those with unrealistic expectations may hold mistaken beliefs that labioplasty can change not only the size of their labia but their entire lives. They may think the procedure will result in an instantly fulfilling sex life, a barrier against the normal process of aging, or suddenly provide them with dozens of dates.

People who are impossible to please or suffer from a mental illness likewise do not make good candidates for labioplasty. Those who are impossible to please are likely to never be happy with any results from any surgery. Those suffering from paranoia or delusional disorders typically do not make the candidate list, although labioplasty may be viable if the person has surgery goals that are neither induced by nor related to their mental health condition.