Hello, I am Sharon Coleman. Welcome to Body Beautiful. With us today we have plastic surgeon Dr. Usha Rajagopal. We are talking about a couple of different topics today. Do remember that any advice we give today, you will want to consult with your own physician as well.
Sharon: So, Dr. the next topic we are discussing is labiaplasty. And I am not familiar with this. So tell me what is this procedure?
Dr. Rajagopal: So, labiaplasty is a procedure that we change the appearance of women’s labia minora or majora. Most of the time, it is due to combination of factors. It is either a functional issue for the patient. That means it either pinches, tugs, chafes or she is concerned with the appearance. For most women, it is a combination of both that causes them to have them come in for a consultation.
Sharon: Ok. Who would be a good candidate? Or is there an age range or anything like that?
Dr. Rajagopal: It is interesting that it is not age related, in a sense that the shape of woman’s labia is genetically determined just like how tall or short she is going to be. So, I have women come in their young twenties all the way up to their sixties. I certainly have young women who are students, moms middle-aged, and I have women who are older and professionally can be all professions. All the way from moms, like I said students, I have had lawyers, I have had pilots, I had teachers, and I mean like everyone.
Sharon: It is a broad spectrum!
Dr. Rajagopal: It is a broad spectrum.
Sharon: So, walk me through the process. Let’s say that I come into your office and I am interested in having the procedure done. Or I am not quite sure what can be done it probably is the case sometimes that they come in.
Dr. Rajagopal: Yes. The reason people come to me is because they know that I do a lot of labiaplasty. I have been doing them since 1999 and I have done over a thousand in this amount of period. They come to me because of two primary concerns. Either they are not happy with the appearance and they are very self-conscious and they don’t have the self confidence. And equally or not more important is issues with functional issues. That means the size of the labia causes chaffing with clothing – they cannot wear tight jeans, they get irritated. Sometimes because of the amount of tissue sometimes they are more prone to yeast infections. Or it could be a hygiene issue. So these are some of the reasons they come in. And when I see them in consultation, I do a thorough examination. First I talk to them and go over the medical history to see what their concerns are. When we do an examination where I am really quite open; they have a mirror and I am talking to them going over their anatomy, going over their concerns. Then we talk about whether they are a good candidate or not. And then if they are a good patient we go to the next step. We talk about surgery and what we will be doing during the surgery and what kind of surgery it is. With labiaplasty, it surprisingly is a office procedure. That means it is done in the office under a light anesthesia.
Dr. Rajagopal: That means the woman is not asleep. She is awake but she is relaxed. We give her some to relax her like Valium by mouth and when we are doing the surgery there is absolutely no pain at all. So during the surgery she can either be talking to me or she may be dozing off from the Valium and that’s about it. We recommend her to have a friend or someone to take her home. Time off is usually about a week.
Sharon: What is the recovery time? How much down time do you have? And what does that look like?
Dr. Rajagopal: So generally, initially I have her take three days minimum of complete lying in bed, bed rest. And then after that I say that they can go back to work or light activities. So if you work in an office that is fine. And then about a week to actually feel quite good and then they can little more activities. But to swim or play tennis it is about a month.
Sharon: What are the concerns that they need to be focusing on during that time that they do not want to interfere with?
Dr. Rajagopal: Initially, after the surgery the area tend to swell up a lot and it can tend to bleed, because it is a highly vascular area. So, usually, when we recommend staying in bed for those three days, I want them in bed. Then we usually give antibiotics around and want to follow instructions, take those antibiotics, and keep the area clean.
Sharon: Great! What is satisfaction rate?
Dr. Rajagopal: I actually end up doing a survey in 2007 and 2008 before we collected survey for a whole year. The survey rate was over 90% satisfaction, in a sense that 100% women who got it done would repeat the surgery and 100% women who got it done recommended it to a friend of theirs.
Sharon: That is fantastic. Thank you, Dr. It is great to hear about this. Now, if you would like more information about Dr. Rajagopal you can call 415-392-3333.