A few decades ago, a hair coloring company famously asked in its advertising, “Does she or doesn’t she?” No one knew for sure except, of course, her hairdresser. Times have changed. It’s safe to say these days only her plastic surgeon knows for sure.
Plastic surgery is not only more common than ever — it’s more accepted. And that is especially true for women dealing with changes to their bodies after having children. Even though neither of the 2 largest plastic surgery associations in the U.S. keep track of “mommy makeovers,” the nickname for procedures that combine several cosmetic surgeries into one operation to restore a pre-baby body, it’s clear they are trending upward.
Consider that 3 of the top 5 cosmetic surgery procedures performed, according to the most recent statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons® (ASPS), are breast augmentation, tummy tucks, and liposuction. These are the most common combination of procedures performed during a mommy makeover.
But that’s just the starting point for procedures that women are asking for when they consult with a plastic surgeon.
“We’re seeing much more diversity in the areas of the body patients are choosing to address,” ASPS President Dr. David H. Song says. “Patients have more options than ever, and working closely with their surgeon, they’re able to focus on specific target areas of the body to achieve the look they desire.”
Those target areas are primarily below the belt. The number of buttock lifts performed in 2015 increased 36% compared with the year before, the ASPS numbers show. And vaginal rejuvenation’s popularity continues to grow. Changing cultural norms about the vagina’s appearance are creating a market for procedures that improve outer appearance, function, and sensitivity.
According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, there has been a steep rise in the number of labiaplasties performed in the U.S. — up 49% from 2013 to 2014. (ASAPS statistics for 2015 aren’t available yet.) Plastic Surgery Portal, an online network of professional healthcare sites, describes a similar jump, suggesting that the “market for vaginal plastic surgery has skyrocketed.”
Grooming “down there” now includes shaving and, consequently, women are noticing what things look like. But it’s not only an aesthetic change that’s desired. Both the labia majora and labia minora (the outer and inner lips, respectively) often undergo changes after vaginal childbirth that alter both the appearance and function of the vagina.
“A number of women with large or redundant labia minora can experience pain and difficulty during intercourse, or discomfort during certain everyday activities or sports,” says plastic surgeon Dr. Fady Sinno, who specializes in body contouring procedures including labiaplasty at his Baltimore-area practice.
Surgery isn’t the only option. Just as nonsurgical fat reduction and skin tightening treatments are becoming increasingly popular, so are noninvasive cosmetic procedures for the vagina. Two of the most popular procedures are called ThermiVa® and MonaLisa Touch®. They use different technologies pursuing the same goal of tightening and shrinking the vaginal tissues. FemiLift™ is another FDA-approved treatment specifically to increase vaginal lubrication after menopause.
Whether for aesthetic or functional reasons, expect the vaginal rejuvenation trend to continue.
Contributing Author: Addison Blake
Sinno Center for Plastic Surgery
5094 Dorsey Hall Drive #105
Ellicott City, MD 21042
826 Washington Road #220
Westminster, MD 21157