'Designer Vaginas' Blacklisted in Australia

Published July 31, 2008

| Newscorp Australian Papers

Cosmetic surgery to "rejuvenate" the vagina has been blacklisted by Australian gynecologists who say more women are being injured by the dangerous procedures.

Top female sexual health specialists say they are seeing an increase in women with scarring, infections and altered sexual sensations after undergoing vaginal surgery.

Most have had labioplasty operations, to change the external appearance of the vagina or, less commonly, to narrow the vagina or "amplify'' the female G-spot.

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued a position statement on the trend, labelling it dangerous, expensive and unwarranted.

"The college is particularly concerned that such surgery may exploit vulnerable women,'' the statement said.

Dr. Ted Weaver, chairman of the college's women's health committee, said there were now a number of clinics, mostly in Sydney and the Gold Coast, offering these treatments.

Most of the operations cost at least $10,000, an "extraordinary amount of money,'' Weaver said.

"We feel these operations might prey on people with insecurities and fears who actually need psychological help,'' he said.

"They are also not very anatomically-based and have the potential to cause serious harm.''

Many college members had treated patients with scarring, permanent disfigurement, infection and altered sexual sensations, some of whom required reconstructive surgery, he said.

There was concern that women seeking the most common operation, the labioplasty, did not understand there was a huge variation in how women's external genitalia look.

"In one case we heard of a man bringing in a Brazilian pornographic photo and saying: `Make my girlfriend look like this','' Weaver said.

"We don't think it is ethical behavior to agree to do that.''

G-spot augmentation, where collagen is injected into the vaginal wall to enhance sexual pleasure, was also controversial.

"It is often not clear where the G-spot is or if it even exists at all in some women,'' he said.

"So the procedure is done without that being verified, often causing problems in sex.''

Daniel Fleming, president of the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery, said the vast majority of people who undergo labia and vaginal surgery were "very happy'' with the result.

"If there's a problem (the gynecologists) need to submit the evidence so we can find out why it's happening and if any particular group of doctors is implicated in the alleged increased complication rate,'' Fleming said.

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