Sunday, September 02, 2007

Vaginal Rejuvenation

Anyone who has cable TV knows about vaginal rejuvenation and labioplasties. As disturbing as it is to hear a young lass discuss her nether regions with all the perfunctory detachment of a newsman discussing the weather developments, it's even more disturbing to see a talking plastic surgeon, grin into the camera as he begins his scalpel work. There.

Evidently, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) are disturbed, too. They issued this statement:

The statement by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) says it is "deceptive to give the impression" that these procedures, which by some accounts are among the hottest new trends in plastic surgery, are "accepted and routine surgical practices."

"Vaginal rejuvenation," "designer vaginoplasty," "revirgination" and "G-spot amplification" are being marketed to women on late-night TV, in magazines and on the Internet. Doctors offering the procedures say they can enhance women's sexual pleasure and alleviate uncomfortable symptoms, and many of their patients agree.

But critics say these women are exposing extraordinarily sensitive body parts to interventions with questionable benefits and unknown risks.
Ya think? There's no support for these surgeries other than anecdotes, and I'm a-thinkin' the bad cases don't make Dr. 90210, you know? We won't see a patient screaming into the camera, "I've been ruined for sex, forever, because of YOU!" It would make for good TV, though.
The risk, of course, is that patients could suffer harm from the surgeries, including bleeding, scarring, infection and altered sensation, while experiencing little or no benefit. Brubaker is among several physicians who said in interviews that they had seen patients suffering from pain and discomfort as well as disappointment after these surgeries
That seems like a very big risk, to me. Many of the women are young. They have their whole lives ahead of them. A mistake could cause untold heartache. In addition, there seems to be this porn-star mentality now. Young people especially have specific notions about how a person should be groomed or look. Who is judging a labia as "ugly" is what I want to know. Who is spending time obsessing about it? How does a girl know she's different than other girls?
The British Medical Journal weighed in on the topic with a May article calling cosmetic genital surgeries an "extreme and unproved intervention" that "could undermine the development of other ways to help women and girls to deal with concerns about their appearance."

Most women don't understand that the size and shape of genitalia vary greatly, leading to "misguided assumptions" about what is normal, said the authors, a clinical psychologist and a gynecologist.
Now a woman doesn't just obsess about her face, her hair, her butt, her hips, her belly, her boobs, her chin, her arms and her bunions, she's obsessing over her labia, too. There's something wrong with this picture.

Is this really a worthy medical advancement or just another symptom of our society's extreme narcissism?