Alexis Parcells, MD, FACS, a board-certified plastic surgeon and owner of Eatontown, N.J.-based Parcells Plastic Surgery, was recently featured as a labiaplasty expert on POOSH, a digital lifestyle and wellness platform founded by Kourtney Kardashian. 

Labiaplasty, once considered taboo, has exploded in popularity over the last five years, with Parcells performing hundreds of labiaplasties in her office every year. Aesthetic, functional, and sexual reasons motivate women to seek labiaplasty. The trend has been attributed to everything from the rise in tight-fitting athleisurewear and the rise in indoor cycling to celebrities speaking out about it and women being more comfortable with changing what concerns them about their bodies. 

“Labiaplasty is gaining mainstream awareness as a straightforward solution to a common concern,” says Parcells. “My hope is that women of all ages who are insecure about this feel empowered to get good information and decide if this procedure will help improve their well-being and self-confidence.”

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, labiaplasty is one of the cosmetic operations with the greatest increase in the annual rate of procedures performed. This increase in demand has been attributed to everything from the rise in tight-fitting athleisurewear and the popularity of indoor cycling in combination with women being more empowered to address this area knowing the simplicity of the procedure, according to Parcells. 

The satisfaction rate of the surgery is high, too; labiaplasty patients report a 96% improvement in self-confidence and comfort in wearing tight clothing. Increased quality of life and self-esteem levels following cosmetic surgery to the face and body have been reported, and patients report a significant improvement in sexual function, including decreased pain and increased enjoyment.

A labiaplasty is a cosmetic skin procedure in which the inner labial skin of the labia (labia minor) is trimmed and tucked behind the outer labia (labia majora). The procedure, which Parcells performs in-office with local numbing medication (no sedation or general anesthesia) takes about 30 minutes. Patients can drive home from the procedure, and most patients are back to light routine activities by day three or four. 

While full recovery takes around six weeks, many patients are back to work within seven days. Parcells sees patients ranging in age from 18 to 45 for labiaplasties and performs consultations and follow-ups pre- and post-procedure either in-office or virtually to accommodate out-of-town patients.

“There is a misconception that labiaplasties are a very invasive procedure with major recovery,” says Parcells. “My goal is to destigmatize labiaplasties, and to encourage women to not live in fear or shame of their body and to know that there is an easy procedure that is available to them.”

Parcells believes that to destigmatize labiaplasty procedures, it is also essential for gynecologists, pediatricians, and primary care providers to know that this can be safely addressed without anesthesia, and to give patients good resources and education to help women navigate their concerns about this part of their body. There are minimal risks, and the procedure will not affect sensation long-term.

The Poosh article sums it up best, “A major takeaway for me is that ‘wow,’ most women I’ve discussed this procedure with have thought about or are already interested in labiaplasty themselves,” it reads. “I found it so interesting that so many of my friends had thought about this but never discussed it openly with anyone before. From 2015-2019, there has been a 73% increase in this procedure. Why the stigma?” 

Parcells encourages those interested in receiving a labiaplasty to do their research and find a board-certified plastic surgeon for the procedure.