Despite its many benefits, plastic surgery often gets a bad rap as being superficial or frivolous. But believe it or not, plastic surgery isn’t just about looks. Many procedures have genuine medical benefits beyond just improving the self-esteem of the recipient. Procedures like blepharoplasty (eyelid lift) can improve patients’ health and safety by increasing their line of vision. Rhinoplasty (or nose job) can help increase air intake and improve breathing, and many skin-removal procedures can reduce the pain and irritation from frequent rashes and chafing caused by loose, hanging skin following major weight loss.
But a new category of plastic surgery procedures, genital surgery, has been making headlines lately, and a lot of people are wondering what, if anything, are the benefits of these procedures.
“Genital surgeries are very controversial, because most people don’t understand what they are or what their purpose is,” says Dr. Bruce Chau, a plastic surgeon in Berkeley, Michigan. “But they’re not just cosmetic – most of them have very real medical benefits.”
Take for example the labiaplasty procedure. Though it is often misunderstood (and has even been confused with female circumcision), a labiaplasty can be done for more than just looks. The procedure is beneficial to women who experience painful twisting or pulling of the labium during sexual intercourse, but also during physical activities like exercising and bike riding. It can even make fitted clothing like underwear uncomfortable to wear.
“Many people assume labiaplasty is just for sexual purposes, but it can benefit the patient in so many other ways,” Chau says.
Another surgery, vaginal rejuvenation, has also raised its share of eyebrows. The procedure is also said to enhance sexual pleasure; however, there are medical benefits to vaginal rejuvenation, too.
“Vaginal rejuvenation helps tighten the vagina after childbirth,” Chau says. “It certainly can be beneficial during sexual intercourse, but it can also help another problem that sometimes occurs after childbirth, which is stress incontinence.”
Regardless of whether you choose a genital plastic surgery procedure to correct a medical problem, to enhance sexual pleasure or just to change the look of your body, one thing is for sure: it’s nobody’s business but your own.
“Everyone has an opinion, but it’s your body, and you don’t need to justify your procedure, even if it’s just Botox, to anyone else,” Chau says. “It should be about what makes you feel your best.”