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What is Labiaplasty – A Guide to Women’s Health


For the completely uninitiated, labiaplasty is a procedure performed on a female’s genital area and is also referred to as labia minora reduction, inner lip reduction or simply, a designer vagina. It will involve a reduction the size of the labia minora, typically done to reshape and improve the aesthetic appearance of the vaginal area and may sometimes also involve removal of tissue in the vulva. It is characterized as an invasive procedure using either a scalpel or laser to achieve the desired contoured effect. Stitches that you receive from the surgery will typically be dis solvable.

Despite prevalence of a specific ‘clamshell’ or ‘Barbie’ look of the outer labia that’s currently fashionable for women’s genital area, it is firstly important to know that even if your labia does not look like this in appearance, it still may be perfectly normal for a medical point of view. A 2005 study based at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital in the UK found that clitoral size, labia length and width, vaginal length and other measures of the external genitalia vary widely in dimensions. Women’s Health Victoria has created an online labia library that’s a great resource especially if you’re are pursuing this procedure for cosmetic purposes. Your next step should be find and research a variety of practitioners that specialist in this type of surgery and learn about the actual procedure, recovery process and of course, costs.

If your labiaplasty surgery requires a general anesthetic, you will be admitted to hospital, so it can cost anywhere from $3000 to $10 000 when all the expenses are factored in. Therefore, when choosing health insurance, you will need to have an adequate level of cover including for Medicare item number 35534. However, know that Medicare will not cover the procedure if it is simply cosmetic, so you will need a doctor’s referral supported by sufficient clinical evidence demonstrating that you experience significant functional impairment in order to be eligible for a Medicare rebate.

On the administration side, you should also chat to your health insurance provider and hospitals where you are considering getting the procedure performed. In addition to surgery fees, ask if your insurance has an a excess component and what type of rebates you will receive for consultations and specialist post-operative care, if needed. This is a good start to getting a handle on the real costs of this surgery.

Being fully informed of the costs, risks and factors that are specific to your situation will enable you to make the best decision regarding your suitability for the procedure. The best way to do this is to book in a consultation with an appropriate surgeon and discuss your needs. Make sure you confirm their qualifications and experience with performing labiaplasty, as well as the other people, such as nurses assisting in your procedure. It is also ideal to research the clinic’s safety record, post-operative support and other patient reviews to get a sense of what the experience will involve beyond the actual procedure.


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