Beware of Online Information on Cosmetic Surgery for Designer Vagina
You can have cosmetic surgery to reshape your nose, hips, chin, ears, eyelids, and other visible body parts, but some women are choosing procedures to create a designer vagina or alter their labias. As this trend has been gradually growing in recent years, there is also increasing concern over the poor online information about these procedures.
Why women want cosmetic surgery for the genitals
Some women are taking the concept of "nip and tuck" beyond the tip of their nose or the bags under their eyes. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), thousands of women are choosing to undergo cosmetic surgery that includes tightening of the vagina (e.g., vaginal rejuvenation), reshaping of the labia (i.e., labiaplasty, among other terms), and enhancing the G-spot with fillers (i.e., G-spot augmentation).
The reasons these women give for having surgery include feeling their genitalia are not as attractive as they once were or they are not getting aroused or stimulated during sex. However, some plastic surgeons warn that such procedures have not been proven to improve stimulation, and in fact a loss of sensation as well as scarring may occur.
But as the results of a new report published in the Obstetrics & Gynecology edition of BMJ Open reveal, women who turn to the Internet to find out about female genital cosmetic surgery are exposed to poor information, a lack of standard terminology, and other problems that make it difficult if not impossible for women to make educated choices about these forms of surgery.
What the new study reveals
The researchers explored the information provided on the first ten websites (5 from the United States and 5 from the United Kingdom) that showed up in a Google search. All were for private providers who offered cosmetic surgery for women seeking genital modifications.
The content of each site was evaluated based on sixteen criteria, including use of language and information regarding surgical procedures, surgical success rates, side effects, risk factors, benefits, and other information. The authors found the following:
- A lack of standard language or terminology regarding the different procedures offered among the different websites, which makes it difficult for readers to know exactly what procedures or how many a provider offers.
- Little information was provided on surgical outcomes or risks
- Limited reference was made to the fact that there is a diversity of appearance among female genitalia
- The websites did not provide any information on other methods women might use to address concerns about their dissatisfaction with their vagina or genitals, such as counseling or sex therapy, creams, or moisturizers
- All the sites mentioned the appearance of female genitals, such as how women might be self-conscious about having larger than normal labia, and many emphasized that reducing labia size could give women a more youthful appearance
- Nearly half of the websites indicated that cosmetic surgery would improve a woman's sexual pleasure
- Three websites claims labial surgery would eliminate a woman's risk of infections
- Only two websites mentioned surgical success rates, but the exact meaning of "success" was not made clear.
- Although all the websites mentioned risks associated with surgery, four did not even name any of those risks
- All the websites made unproven claims that female cosmetic surgery could restore a woman's confidence and self-esteem
- None of the websites mentioned a minimum age for which a female might be a candidate for genital cosmetic surgery
A few words about female genital cosmetic surgery
A wide range of terms are used to refer to female genital cosmetic surgery. Labiaplasty is often used to refer to the reduction or reshaping of the labia (vaginal lips). A vaginoplasty is a procedure that reshapes and tightens the inner vagina walls and muscles, resulting in a tighter, more toned vagina.
A hymenoplasty is a procedure that can repair or rebuild a torn hymen, which is typically done for religious or cultural reasons to "restore" a woman's virginity. For this reason, a hymenoplasty is sometimes referred to as re-virgination.
According to the Consulting Room, a total of 1,030 vaginal rejuvenation procedures were performed in the United States in 2006, based on statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The ASAPS reported slightly more than 2,100 vaginal rejuvenations were done in 2011 in the United States, a 5.5 percent increase from 2010.
The authors of the BMJ Open study concluded their findings indicate "significant gaps in the breadth, depth, accuracy and quality of clinical information given by some service providers of female genital cosmetic surgery." Women who are considering cosmetic surgery for a designer vagina or other genital modifications would be wise to beware of online information and consult a trusted healthcare provider.
American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
Liao L-M et al. An analysis of the content and clinical implications of online advertisements for female genital cosmetic surgery. BMJ Open 2012 Nov. DOI:10.1136/mbjopen-2012-001908