One of the most newsworthy developments in plastic surgery last year was the spike in teenagers requesting labiaplasty, or cosmetic genital surgery. In fact, the increase in requests was so substantial that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology released a statement of guidelines for physicians about how to address these requests.
As a trusted Miami plastic surgeon, Dr. Ary Krau wanted to share more details about this rising trend and explain how most plastic surgeons are responding to it.
Why More Teens Want To Look Different “Down There”
The uptick in teenagers requesting surgery to improve the appearance of their genital tissues can be attributed to multiple reasons, including the following:
- the desire to fit in with peers
- unfettered access to (possibly retouched) images of idealized female genitalia online
- constant messages from the media and pop culture about the ideal female body
- feelings of self-consciousness or shame about their body
- intercepting and misinterpreting messages intended for adult women about cosmetic treatment to correct post-childbirth issues
How Plastic Surgeons Are Addressing These Requests
Generally speaking, reputable plastic surgeons frown on performing labiaplasty on teenagers. One of the most important reasons why they discourage it is that teenagers are still developing physically, and operating on a changing body raises the risk of poor results and possibly the need for a secondary revision surgery. This is why plastic surgeons encourage mommy makeover patients to postpone surgery until their body has stabilized after childbirth and breastfeeding, and it’s why post-bariatric patients must wait until their body weight is stable before proceeding with body contouring.
Another reason why plastic surgeons discourage labiaplasty for teenagers is that young patients simply do not have the emotional maturity to understand the magnitude of their decisions and the operation. Most women do not fully mature until their early 20s, at which point labiaplasty can be re-considered.
The only situation in which labiaplasty may be appropriate for a teenager is when the genital tissues are deformed and cause everyday discomfort. There are rare cases where a teenager has a deformity of the genital tissues that prevents her from performing day-to-day activities or wearing certain types of (form-fitting) clothing. In this scenario, the plastic surgeon must ensure the patient truly understands the procedure, typical results and responsibilities during the surgical recovery. Parental consent is also required for patients under the age of 18.
Contact Dr. Ary Krau
If you or a loved one are interested in cosmetic plastic surgery and want the honest opinion of a board-certified plastic surgeon, schedule a consultation with Dr. Ary Krau. Call (305) 861-6881 or email our practice today to make your appointment.