Though vaginal rejuvenation has only recently reached its peak in popularity, one San Francisco-based surgeon has had her finger on the pulse on the trend for nearly 20 years.
More women than ever are seeking “designer vaginas.” A 2016 report from the American Society of Plastic Surgery reveals that labiaplasty, a vaginal rejuvenation procedure used to enhance the shape and function of the labia, has skyrocketed in popularity. Over 12,000 labiaplasties were performed in 2016 alone, representing a 39 percent increase from the previous year.
This rise in demand comes as no surprise to Dr. Usha Rajagopal, who has helped patients achieve more functional and aesthetically-pleasing genitalia for nearly 20 years at the San Francisco Plastic Surgery and Laser Center. Rajagopal, who credits the uptick to the increased availability of before and after photos on the Internet, more females watching pornography, and the prevalence of hair removal methods like the Brazilian wax, recently reconnected with her first labiaplasty patient. In 1999, the client shyly confessed some of her female-specific discomforts and insecurities to Rajagopal.
Many women, for example, report their labia minora hang lower than their labia majora, complaining it protrudes out of underwear and swimsuit bottoms or sticks to the inner thigh. In addition to embarrassment in the locker rooms or bedroom, this can cause physical pain when biking, horseback riding, practicing yoga, or simply walking down the street.
Rajagopal, a board-certified surgeon, carefully listened to her patient. By applying tried-and-true principles of plastic surgery to the labia, Rajagopal began innovating techniques to empower these women. Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that modifies the size of the labia by surgically removing labia tissue, ultimately to improve both appearance and comfort. The surgery lasts 1.5 hours, uses a light, short-lasting anesthesia to minimize pain, and requires a few days of recovery. Rajagopal personally guides every client through each stage of the process, from consultation, to surgery, to recovery. In terms of cost, labiaplasties performed by Rajagopal range from $4,500 to $5,000, compared to the $7,000 to $8,000 average in the Bay Area.
“That first patient was thrilled with the results and to this day is still so happy she had it done,” says Rajagopal. Since this initial success story, Rajagopal has completed nearly 2,000 labiaplasties. “Just like with anything, the more you do, the better you get,” says Rajagopal. “The principle that you need 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become an expert is very valid.” She’s performed labiaplasties on a wide variety of everyday women, from judges and stay-at-home moms to acrobats and pilots, who range in age from 14 to 75.
Combining her surgical expertise with a continued focus on client empathy and empowerment, Rajagopal began offering additional cutting-edge vaginal rejuvenation procedures like monsplasty, vaginal tightening, Femilift, and the O-Shot. Each procedure is designed to instill a sense of pride in patients and meet their most intimate needs, whether related to pain, vaginal tightness, sexual dysfunction, urinary incontinence, aesthetic, or self-consciousness.
The O-Shot, for example, is a simple, non-surgical injection used to improve the quality of sex for women. The injection delivers platelet-rich plasma (PRP) to the clitoris and the “O-Spot” in the vagina. The platelets encourage new, healthy tissue growth in these areas. As a result, a majority of women experience increased sensitivity, a stronger sex drive, and consistent arousal from this invigorated tissue. From the increased blood flow and nerve growth, vaginal and clitorial orgasms become more intense and frequent after a single treatment.
But no matter how cutting-edge or popular vaginal rejuvenation becomes, Dr. Rajagopal remains relentlessly committed to the same trademark care and compassion she offered to her first labiaplasty patient. “I find great pleasure in helping my patients look and feel attractive, and thus live more fulfilling lives,” she says.
According to her patients, Dr. Rajagopal doing exactly this. “The results are stellar,” writes one woman who received a labiaplasty from Dr. Rajagopal. “Why had I waited so long? My confidence level has skyrocketed.”