The number of women seeking “designer vagina” plastic surgery has doubled recently, according to one plastic surgeon. The procedure, known as a labiaplasty, trims down the size of the labia minora — the two flaps of skin on either side of the vaginal opening. Many women find the excess skin unsightly or annoying, especially in the modern era of yoga pants and leggings as regular daily dress.
Dr John Skevofilax, chief surgeon at Juvenis Clinic, said he performed around 50 of the procedures in 2021 at around $4,000 per procedure. This year, however, he’s already performed that many in just the first half of 2022.
“Exercise clothing is a little bit tighter and it’s formfitting so it does put pressure on the area,” he said. “They experience pain, discomfort in general, and chafing. A lot of women actually will feel so uncomfortable that they avoid trying to wear this type of clothing. It’s all really interlinked, choosing a pair of leggings which causes discomfort and which in turn draws attention to the labia and the need for surgery.”
Leggings, or “athleisure” wear, first became trendy in the 1970s, but the trend really took off in the last few years as sporty women adopted the look outside of the gym. The super-tight, formfitting pants put a lot of strain on the labia in some cases.
Some oppose the designer vagina surgery because it promotes unnatural beauty standards
Many naysayers, though, say that the surgery promotes unhealthy standards for women; some even blame pornography or popular beauty culture for the unrealistic image of “perfect” vaginas with no outer skin showing. Dr. Skevofilax disagrees, estimating that about 80 percent of his patients seek the procedure because of discomfort, not aesthetics.
“Women should be able to wear whatever they want to wear,” he said. “If they choose tight clothing, for instance yoga pants because they are following a specific fashion trend or just because it’s simply more fitting for this type of exercise, they should be able to do so without anxiety and ‘a bite of the lip’ of what’s to come. In fact, I have never had a patient say: ‘I want my vagina to look like such and such porn star.'”
In the US, there were 36 percent more labiaplasties performed in the US in 2021 than in 2020, according to The Aesthetic Society. The UK’s Plastic Surgery Group reports that there has been an almost 70 percent increase in requests for the procedure in recent years.
The procedure typically takes between one to two hours, and can be done with general or local anesthetics. It can also be used to remove cancerous tissue is certain situations.