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Interview With A "V" Doctor

By Sara Fiedelholtz
Posted On Apr 25, 2012

It’s still taboo, but cosmetic gynecologists like Troy Hailparn are seeing big demand to fix the world down under

By: Mary L. Hughes

Dr. Troy Robbin Hailparn of the Cosmetic Gynecology Center of San Antonio is driving and screaming letters into her cellphone: “F-en-es-t-ra-tion… fenestration.” She is describing a new labiaplasty procedure that conserves the edges of the labia, preserving contours while shortening. She is a global speaker, passionate about her work, and I have caught her between imperatives.

If you’ve never thought about what cosmetic gynecology means, Dr. Hailparn will tell you all about it; she sees women 17 to 74 come in for all kinds of anatomical issues.

There are several procedures that address the cosmetic and anatomical aspects of gynecologic surgery, but the two typical names you’ll hear are ‘laser vaginal rejuvenation’ and ‘designer laser vaginoplasty.’ But don’t be fooled into thinking it’s called “Designer V” for ‘Vanity;’ beyond purely aesthetic considerations, many women seek the help of cosmetic gynecologists to correct structural issues caused by childbirth, lifestyle, aging or simple genetics.

Dr. Hailparn describes functional issues that most women are too afraid to talk about—loss of sensation after childbirth, enlarged labial tissue, urinary inconstancies, or excess skin that affects access and sensation. “When you don’t have an issue, you can’t imagine it dragging you down. Living with anatomy as an issue every day has a psychological impact. Surgery can change women’s lives,” she says.

Aging, predictably enough, also plays a roll. “Over time,” explains Dr. Hailparn, “we lose texture in the vagina. When we’re young there are folds and grooves. With aging, there’s a loss of texture. It’s like the difference between a Ruffles or a Lay’s potato chip.”

Still others seek sexual benefits. Dr. Hailparn describes strides in “G spot amplification” trademarked by her mentor Dr. David Mattlock of the Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute in Los Angeles, in which a vaginal fold is used to create an internal ridge—thus increasing sensation for both partners and correcting the “wide smooth vagina problem.”

Regardless of cause or motive, more and more women are seeking physical and emotional relief through surgery. In 2009, there were more than 2,500 vaginal rejuvenation surgeries performed. “I have identified 24 reasons women come in for labial procedures. Fifteen percent is about appearance. The rest is about comfort and function [since] over 50% of labial issues involve urine going in multi-directions,” says Dr. Hailparn.

Dr. Hailparn prides herself in being on the leading edge of cosmetic gynecology. She has explored new procedures that include moving the placement of sutures and incisions to leave no scar, and new methods of supporting vaginal wall strength to counteract laxity and loss of sensation. But in the end, the most important part for her is creating a safe environment for women or couples to come in together, see pictures and understand the surgeries without fear of judgment.

Dr. Troy Robbin Hailparn of the Cosmetic Gynecology Center of
San Antonio is among the most experienced cosmetic gynecologists
in the country, having performed over 2,000 vaginal procedures.