Posts Tagged reasons
Labiaplasty pops up in the media intermittently. The angles vary but they frequently feature caricatures of the usual labiaplasty patients I see in Orange County:
Now, one woman has openly shared her experiences of labiaplasty – plastic surgery for female genitalia – on U.S. daytime television. The Doctors, aired yesterday on CBS, featured a 23-year-old who wanted nothing more than to correct her ‘painfully long labia.’ The segment was part of the worryingly-named ‘Gross Anatomy’ episode of the series.
The Dailymail, a uk publication featured an article discussing the case featured on the Doctors:
The trainee nurse, known only as Shannon, said that that her ‘deformed’ genitals are not only a daily discomfort but that they discouraged her from having sex – and were a factor in her relationship breakup. She said: ‘I’m self conscious. I don’t really want to have sex – I try to avoid it, so it’s kind of a big strain on a relationship.’
As a surgeon who performs labiaplasty I am frequently at least a bit peeved after these pieces air. They usually portray the labiaplasty patient as histrionic on the crazy side. Funny as I have cared for dozens of these women over the years. They have more often than not seemed pretty rational seeking normalcy not lunacy. Most have had desires that seemed pretty reasonable.
The comments of many of the “experts” quoted in these pieces usually also take issues to unrealistic extremes:
Massachusetts General Hospital obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr Erin Tracy, seconds Dr Stevens’ findings – and Dr Stork’s beliefs. According to the news site, she said: ‘Most of the patients I have coming in asking about this are teenagers that look entirely normal. ‘The majority of them, after some probing, seem to have some underlying body dysmorphic disorder or problems in their relationship that make them think they’re abnormal.’
The fact of the matter is that there is a wide variation of that which is considered normal in the size of the Labia minora, the most common structure reduced in labiaplasty. So while the women I operate do have “normal sized” Labiae in many cases, normal size does not mean they do not have problems only indirectly related to that size. Not all labiaplasty surgery is strictly speaking vanity surgery. Some of these women have pain…pain in tight jeans, pain in many undergarments. They have pain. How much pain must they tolerate before others believe it is OK that they have it relieved?
Another common misconception seen in labiaplasty depictions in the media is that men have much to do with it:
Dr Hilda Hutcherson, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at New York’s Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. She sees men as being partly to blame for the rise in labiaplasty. ‘For every single thing that’s normal about a woman’s body there’s a man trying to change it.
Women are the ones who come to my office seeking labiaplasty. They are usually alone. I specifically ask each one why she is considering surgery and have done this for a decade. The vast majority have reported that their reasons were internal and had nothing to do with men.
My usual reduction labiaplasty patient considers surgery due to a combination of aesthetic and functional reasons. Potential clients are screened to ascertain whether their complaints can predictably be alleviated by surgery. With this as a baseline, the results have been good.
John Di Saia MD