More women are willing to undergo the knife to improve their sex lives.
A new corrective gynecological surgery claims to help women improve the look of their vaginas.
Through a process called vaginoplasty doctors can tighten vaginal skin by cutting back the inner and outer lips of the labia and occasionally opening the clitoral hood.
Melanie Berliet, a New York writer posed as a potential vaginoplasty patient at a local medical center where she learned just how doctors are selling the procedure.
“She essentially told me my boyfriend would propose to me after the surgery was done,” said Berliet. “If women are at all insecure and go for a consultation, it makes you feel more vulnerable and insecure. The vagina on the charts looked like a porn star.”
Ironically, many experts are blaming the Internet porn industry for the surgery’s growing popularity.
Dr. Cheryl B. Iglesia, a reconstructive pelvic surgeon and director of the female program at the National Center for Advanced Pelvic Surgery in Washington D.C. believes that porn, Brazilian waxing and other hair removal process are creating unrealistic views of what is considered a “normal” look.
“Everyone sees ‘Sex in the City’ and are getting their pubic hair removed and looking down there,” Iglesia said. “They are watching Internet porn and looking at Playboy and Penthouse with a lot of touched up and airbrushed pictures…They feel like they are abnormal.”
She feels that it’s especially impressionable for young girls.
“It’s really concerning, because [the trend] is really reaching younger ages, in their teens,” said Iglesia. “I heard of a mother taking in a 16-year-old and 11-year-old wanting to get it done. It’s just not right.”
Medical experts report that young women are willing to spend between $3,000 and $10,000 on vaginoplasty and labiaplasty, which are not covered by insurance. The American College of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons reported that over 2,000 women underwent such surgeries in 2010. The International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery said that over 5,000 procedures have been performed annually in the U.S.
“We don’t know the exact number, because a lot are done at surgery centers and it’s hard to keep track,” said Iglesia. “There isn’t a code that we have. And people are paying cash up front.”
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warn about the risks associated with vaginoplasty and labiaplasty such as infections, altered sensations, dyspareunia (painful contractions of the vagina), adhesions, and scarring. Iglesia said she even had to reverse the procedure for a patient who experienced pain during sex because it was too tight. She also said that some patients experienced nerve damage.
There are many online forums dedicated to informing and providing accounts of those who’ve experienced the procedure.