by Dr Amelia Stephens
An article recently published in the Medical Journal of Australia showed the increased frequency of vulvoplasty in New South Wales, Australia (1). The intention of the study was to look at potential complications following this procedure and outcomes of the women who had the procedure done related to births following. What was interesting about this study, was seeing how the rates of vulvoplasty have increased, not only in Australia, but in other countries such as the U.K and U.S.A since the early 2000s. So from here, we need to ask a few questions. One you may be asking, rightfully so, is – what on earth is vulvoplasty?
What is vulvoplasty?
Vulvoplasty is an operation that changes the shape of the vulva, the external part of a woman’s genitals. It can be done for the purpose of correcting anatomical malformations that women are born with, that may affect their function or quality of life significantly, or, assisting with correcting scarring or malformation resulting from female genital mutilation. You may have heard the term ‘designer vagina’ and this is also associated with vulvoplasty. Strictly speaking, the vulva is a different anatomical location to the vagina, but it is common for the two to be considered the same thing.
‘Designer vaginas’, and vulvas, have become a more common cosmetic procedure, and as this study shows – it appears the incidence is increasing. As one could appreciate, this area of a woman’s body is quite sensitive, so undergoing surgery would be considerably painful at times.
So why are women lining up to have this procedure done?