Posts Tagged muff surgery
All I have to say is, thank God for this Saturday’s Muff March in London. This morning’s Guardian reports that tomorrow morning, wielding signs like “Keep your mitts off our muffs!” and “I love my vagina!” protesters will march to raise awareness of the wrongness of this type of surgery. I know everyone should make their own choices about how they want their labia to look, but this is scary. The Muffia, organized by UK Feminista and a group of performance artists, ask a good question on their Facebook page: “Tired of cosmetic surgeons profiting from body hatred? Want to speak out against a porn culture that is driving more and more women to the surgeon’s table to get a ‘designer vagina’??”
Surgery on a woman’s privates (now apparently also called muff surgery) as I have said many times before differs substantially between surgeons. The operation I perform in this area is labiaplasty (most commonly the reduction of the inner vaginal lips.) A problem in the anti-labiaplasty movement is exaggeration and inability (or unwillingness) to distinguish between forms of surgery in the region. They tend to simply vilify all who operate on the female genitalia.
This summer, Atlantic Monthly described the surgery, part of a burgeoning field of cosmetic gynecology, this way: “the labia minora are completely amputated” in order to “improve the appearance” of women’s private parts.
I personally do not completely amputate the Labia minora. Approval of appearance is relative to the patient’s aesthetic desires within reason. Most of my patients have both cosmetic and functional concerns. In some women the operation I perform alleviates discomfort.
In some parts of the world, a variant of this type of surgery is called a clitorectomy, where the clitoris and part of the labia are removed, but in this part of the world we call that torture and it’s not the same thing.
Clitorectomy is not a variant of labiaplasty. It is a part of Female Genital Mutilation, a cultural mutilation of sorts practiced in areas of the Muslim world. Surgeons perform labiaplasty. Surgeons like myself do so to improve a patient’s situation. I do not see parity between Female Genital Mutilation and reduction labiaplasty. Neither do my patients.
Now, to be sure, there are women who, particularly after childbirth benefit tremendously from surgery that addresses physiological problem, but that’s not labiaplasty, it’s generally vaginaplasty.
This is the most ironic portion of the article actually as vaginoplasty is one of the more dangerous forms of female genital surgery. These patients who are referred to as the women who might benefit by the operation are the ones at most risk. External genital surgery (such as Reduction labiaplasty) is widely believed to be the safest form of female genital surgery. It is the only form I personally perform.
John Di Saia MD