Women all over the world are worried about their faces, their hair, their body image, as if that wasn’t enough, cosmetic surgery to create a “designer vagina” has stemmed an increasing concern for the safety of such procedures.
Labiaplasty, a cosmetic procedure to make the vagina smaller is an expensive and invasive surgery hat may cause long term effects in sexual function and comfort.
Believed to be an irrevocable surgery, many experts are concerned that the cosmetic benefits may not outweigh the potential for life long discomfort. There simply hasn’t been enough long term research to know the effects this surgery has on the future health of a woman’s genitals. Though patients have reported satisfaction with the procedure, it is thought that more research may reveal that the positive reactions are regarding the cosmetic appeal and are not revealing physical symptoms that might occur with such an operation. Discomfort and lack of sensation are thought to be possible side effects of the procedure.
The appeal of this surgery seems to stem from the insecurities that women hold regarding ther bodies. Lih-Mei Liao, a consultant psychologist at UCL, told The Times that insecurities may be fueled by the media that presents “a homogenized, prepubescent genital appearance standard for all women.” Distorted public opinion about what is physically normal for a woman’s body may be behind the surge in this type of surgery.
Tighter regulations are needed to regulate this type of surgery for effectiveness and long term effects. Because so little is known about the procedure, potential patients have no way of being properly informed about the side effects and hazards of this irreversible surgery.