More Australian women opting for genital trim: Report

November 7th, 2010 - 8:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Nov 7 (IANS) Pornography may be driving Australian women to have unnecessary genital makeovers in a bid to look more desirable, a media report said Sunday citing experts.

The number of Australian women having vaginal “rejuvenation” surgery has tripled in the past decade, The Age reported.

An analysis of medicare figures reveals almost about 1,400 women made claims for labioplasty operations last financial year, a jump from 454 in 2000-01.

The controversial surgery, which reduces the size and appearance of the labia, can help women who have gynaecological problems after childbirth, sexual difficulties or congenital defects.

But gynaecologists and surgeons say women are increasingly going under the knife for non-medical purposes, believing that a surgical “trim” will help them look more “normal”.

While some medicare claims are legitimate because the surgery is medically necessary, most experts say that even when the operation is performed for aesthetic reasons, a claim can be justified if the patient has required the removal of excessive tissue.

Women are also increasingly asking gynaecologists about “G-spot amplification”, a procedure popular in the US, in which collagen is injected into a sensitive area of the vaginal wall, supposedly to make it easier to find and to enhance sexual arousal.

Ted Weaver, president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said reducing the size of the labia could cost up to $10,000 and carried risks of scarring and loss of sexual feeling.

“There’s a lot of normal skin that’s being removed from a highly erogenous area just because the woman’s under some odd belief that it’s going to improve her sexual function or make her look more attractive or more like a porn star,” Weaver said.

He said there was no evidence to justify the G-spot procedure. “We think that they prey on women’s fears and sense of inadequacy,” he said.

Jane Paterson, a plastic surgeon who specialises in labioplasties, believes the operation can be life-changing. She carries out more than 80 labioplasties a year at her Richmond clinic, up from just five in 2005.

“The problem is the inner labia are too big. They cause discomfort walking and chafing, and in certain clothing, and activities like riding a bike … You look at these women and you can see that it’s legitimate to operate on them because they do have excessive amounts of soft tissue there,” Paterson said.

“I haven’t had anyone who’s been 100 percent normal and I’ve thought, this is just ridiculous. They’ve all had a reason.”

While it was difficult to determine what “normal” labia should look like, Paterson said most women had significant “hang-over” in the region.

Labioplasties are carried out by gynaecologists and cosmetic and plastic surgeons, some of whom appear to be exploiting the Medicare system to provide the procedure for non-medical purposes, said Weaver.

Chief executive of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons Gaye Phillips said they should only be done for reconstructive reasons. But on many of its members’ websites the procedure is advertised for cosmetic purposes.

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