Dr Kohout's Plastic Surgery Blog

1 in 5 Women are Interested in Genital Surgery

Mark Kohout - Wednesday, August 06, 2014
shutterstock_171528047According to new Australian research, one in five women are interested in genital surgery. The study found that greater exposure to images of female genitals has led to an increase in women asking for a “designer vagina” and in 351 women surveyed, 17 percent said they would consider labiaplasty. The research When researchers at the school of psychology at Flinders University, South Australia, surveyed 351 women between the age of 18 and 69, they found that 13 percent of women had received negative comments about their genitals. 19 percent of the participants said they had discussed their genital appearance with friends. Of those who were open to undergoing the procedure, a large percentage of the women had high levels of exposure to female genetalia images through television, online, advertising and pornography, leading to dissatisfaction of their own genitalia. The research shows that the stigma once associated with genitalia is dispersing and with greater exposure, comes an increased interest in intimate cosmetic surgery. The study also suggests that the media, romantic partners and friends are influential in shaping women’s perceptions of their own genital appearance and whether or not surgery is for them. The facts According to consultant psychiatrist Dr David Veale, many women in the porn industry have had surgical modification of their labia. When women view porn that involves close ups, they are led to believe that their own genetalia is deformed. The truth is, they have a perfectly normal labia and it is the woman on screen that has been modified. There are several common problems that can make a vagina feel uncomfortable or cause a woman to feel embarrassment:
  • Protruding of the inner labia
  • Misshapen and non-symmetrical labia
  • Change in appearance following childbirth
  • A stretched vaginal canal

Why opt for genital surgery? Some women consider surgery to feel better in swimwear or underwear, while others may use surgery to improve confidence in the bedroom. Labiaplasty is the most common form of cosmetic genital surgery and involves reducing the size of the labia so they do not protrude. Not only does the procedure improve overall appearance of the genitals, labiaplasty gives relief from chafing and discomfort by removing excess skin. Labioplasty takes approximately 90 minutes to perform and is commonly selected by women with enlarged labia minora. Most patients prefer the effect of a ‘wedge’ or ‘triangular’ technique over trimming, which was the traditional technique used. While simpler, trimming does not produce the same aesthetic results and can leave sensitive scarring. ‘Wedging’ not only preserves the contour, colour and anatomy of the labia edge, it offers very minimal visibility of the procedure. Vaginoplasty, or vaginal tightening, is another popular cosmetic genital surgery, improving the feel and tightness of the internal area of the vagina. Rather than correct the appearance of genitalia, vaginoplasty tightens and narrows the vaginal canal to improve sexual sensation and satisfaction. Vaginoplasty is commonly considered by women who have experienced muscle weakness with age or seen stretching and “looseness” following childbirth. The surgery takes approximately one hour and a section of the vaginal lining is removed. From there, the muscles are repositioned and tightened. During the process, any tissue that has been stretched or torn during childbirth can also be corrected. Both procedures call for a few days rest and restraint from sex for six weeks. Some patients may suffer slight discomfort and pain in the first week following surgery, but can get back to work within a few days.

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