Women are undergoing surgery to create perfect genitalia despite a “shocking” lack of information on the potential risks of the procedure, a report published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology says.
Operations to improve the appearance of the sex organs for both psychological and physical reasons are on the rise, but surgeons said the report exaggerated the risks of an established procedure.
Researchers from University College London reviewed all the existing studies on cosmetic labial surgery – which generally involves reducing the amount of tissue that protrudes from the lips which cover the vagina. They found there had been little work to document any longer-term side effects.
Labioplasty, as it is known, is offered for a variety of reasons: some women complain that wearing tight clothes or riding a bike is uncomfortable, while others say they are embarrassed in front of a sexual partner. In studies dating back to 1950, examined by the researchers, dissatisfaction with the way the vagina looked was the primary reason for surgery, with patients also speaking of low self-esteem and sexual difficulties.
But rather than curing sexual problems, Dr. Creighton suggested surgery might exacerbate them by damaging the nerve supply to the area, impairing sexual sensitivity and satisfaction. She also suggests that women who undergo this procedure might experience similar problems in childbirth as those who have experienced female circumcision, like significant tearing and bleeding after labor and even the death of their babies.
What do YOU think? Is the surgery worth it? Would YOU have the procedure done?