Some Canadian doctors are concerned about the rising demand for genital cosmetic surgery, with one saying that women seeking such procedures may have false ideas about what "normal" genitalia are supposed to look like.
Surgery has been promoted as a way to enhance female sexual organs but it can also make women feel that their genitalia are unattractive, Dr. Jennifer Blake, CEO of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC), told Postmedia News.
She raised her concerns as SOGC readies to host a debate on cosmetic surgery called "The Ideal of Perfect — Genital Cosmetic Surgery" at its annual conference in Niagara Falls from June 10 to 13.
The program will look at some of the most common female cosmetic surgeries and discuss the "motivations and rights" of patients.
Examples of cosmetic surgeries include a labiaplasty, which typically makes the labia major (outer vaginal lips) or the labia minor (inner vaginal lips) smaller or gives them more symmetry, according to WebMD.
Another surgery is a clitoral hood size reduction. This procedure reduces the tissue that covers the clitoral head so that "sexual function can be more easily achieved," according to the Toronto Cosmetic Clinic.
Blake is concerned that such procedures are leading to a commercialization of the female body, and that pornography is giving women erroneous ideas of how genitalia are supposed to look.
"What bothers me most is that women are being made to feel insecure and unhappy about a perfectly normal, healthy part of their body and will submit themselves to costly surgery when we just don’t know what the long-term impact is going to be," Blake said.
Blake is also concerned about procedures that involve lasers, saying that they could reduce a vagina's flexibility as a woman ages.
Other doctors disagree with the idea that pornography is influencing women's decisions to obtain genital cosmetic surgery.
Dr. Kyle Wanzel, a plastic surgeon based in Etobicoke, told The Grid in January that he has yet to come across a patient who wanted a labiaplasty because of what she saw in porn.
"The vast majority of women have been online to chat rooms, found out about the [surgery], and then just looked it up on my website," he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Jerome Edelstein, a plastic surgeon based in Toronto, told The Grid that the growing trend is motivated by contemporary attitudes to body hair, which can lead to people revealing more in the genital area.
This is not the first time that doctors have raised concerns about genital cosmetic surgery.
In December, the SOGC issued a policy statement about cosmetic procedures on the vagina or vulva, saying there is "little evidence to support any of the female genital cosmetic surgeries in terms of improvement to sexual satisfaction or self-image."
It said doctors should not promote such practices as a way to enhance sexual function, and also expressed concern that some patients may be coerced into it by their partners.
The American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists raised a similar alarm in 2007, after "strongly [questioning] the medical validity and safety of female genital cosmetic surgery."
But some doctors already screen out people who may have faced psychological difficulty or outside pressure, The National Post reported in January.
And some, like Dr. Martin Jugenburg of the Toronto Cosmetic Surgery Institute, say most patients have reported post-surgery improvements.
"So often, someone will tell me ‘My partner has never seen me in the light, it’s always in the dark, I’m so ashamed of how I look down there,’" he told the newspaper. "They want to be more comfortable with their partners."
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<a href="http://www.harpersbazaar.com/magazine/cover/gwyneth-paltrow-interview-0513#slide-1" target="_blank">Gwyneth told Harper's Bazaar in 2013</a>, "I won't do Botox again, because I looked crazy. I looked like Joan Rivers!"
We all know Joan Rivers is a walking plastic surgery job -- she has reportedly had over 789 surgeries! But not all operations are equal to the funny woman. In 2009, she told "People" she <a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20258303,00.html" target="_blank">regretted getting liposuction. </a> "I didn't check out the doctor and the result wasn't smooth," she said.
"I wish I'd never had my breasts done the last time," she told New Magazine. "They've put these bloody great bags in that are too f***ing round--it's like a water bed on your chest." (Getty photo)
The youthful-looking actress regrets getting Botox. "I didn't like how my face looked afterwards. Now I don't use it anymore -- I can move my forehead again!"
The singer has been vocal about how it's important to be natural. But during an interview with "Glamour" in 2006, she told the magazine she regretted getting lip injections. "I had that Restylane stuff. It looked fake to me. I didn't like that. But it went away in, like, four months. My lips are back to what they were. Thank God!"
She told "People" in 1992 that she regretted getting breast implants. She got them after giving birth to Chaz and did not want to part with her naturally enlarged breasts due to pregnancy. "They got so much bigger and I couldn't bear to see them deflate. My breast operations were a nightmare. They were really botched in every way. If anything, they were worse after than before."
The outspoken actress always said she was an opponent of plastic surgery but she caved when she 72 years old and regretted it. She got her eyes and neck restructured. "If I was really brave, I would have not. I vowed I wouldn’t -- I did, and I don’t feel proud of it. It made me look more like I feel. But I don't want to do it again."
The always-hilarious Griffin wrote in her memoir that her liposuction surgery made her look like a "CSI crime scene photo." “I want women to know when you get liposuction trying to be Jennifer Aniston, this is what it really looks like.”
"When I was 19, a doctor put in bigger implants than what I asked for. I was in such a hurry to get them that I didn't research my doctor," Richards told Us Weekly. "I just thought because they're a plastic surgeon, they must be good. You have to be your advocate for your own body and ask 100 questions." Later Richards wrote: "At 19 when I first got my breasts done, I wish that I was confident enough with my body to not have had surgery. That is something that I really want to encourage in my daughters, to embrace their healthy body and have confidence. I actually feel more confident in my skin now than in my 20's. Being confident is one of the sexiest qualities a woman can exude." (Getty photo)
"Me and my friends found a doctor in Arizona that cost about $1,500 to get our boobs done--because they didn't use anesthesia and I didn't know it," McCarthy told WENN. In a later interview with Us Weekly, the former playmate said she was "too young" when she got her implants at 19. (Getty photo)
In an interview with British Vogue, Victoria was asked about the absence of her "torpedo bazookas," to which the former Spice Girl reportedly replied, "gone". (Getty photo)
The actress told InStyle in 2010 about how sometimes she overdos it with botox injections. She said, "I feel weird if I can't move my face, and that one time I overdid it, I felt trapped in my own skin."
Some stars need a few operations to learn their lesson. Such is the case with Love. In 2003, Love got liposuction on her butt and said, "Nobody should lipo their butt. I've flattened my perfect fat a**!” Then, in 2007, she regretted her lip injections. She wrote on MySpace, "I just want the mouth God gave me back; it was perfectly cute, and I had nice big lips." Finally, the singer regretted her nose job saying she "hated that nosejobby nose, it was like a little beak.”
She regrets getting breast implants that took her from a 32B to a DD. "I didn't want to go as big as that. It's nice that I don't have to wear a push-up bra any more, but I could have left myself alone. I think I was fine the way I was. I had nice breasts before -- though they were small."
When she was 22, she got surgery to go from a B-cup to a C-cup. "It was so dumb... I just got the idea in my head one day, and that was that. There was no talking me out of it," said Kardashian in an interview with Us Weekly. (Getty photo)
The Hills star -- now a size "E or F" depending on the bra--had a staggering 10 procedures done in one day. "I'm obsessed with fitness but it's impossible to work out with these boobs," Montag told Life and Style Magazine. "It's heartbreaking. I can't live an everyday life." (Getty photo)
The actress wishes she didn't alter her nose -- the one feature that made her a distinguishable actress. I went in the operating theatre a celebrity -- and came out anonymous. I'll always be this once-famous actress nobody recognizes... because of a nose job."
In an interview with Now Magazine, Kimberly states her famous father was supportive of his daughter when she had the implants put in at 18, and even more supportive when she decided to get rid of them. She recalls, "He's very supportive of whatever I do. He was just like, 'If you don't feel comfortable, if you don't feel safe, just get them removed.'" (Getty photo)
"When I had implants, I felt uncomfortable," the former porn star told Us Weekly. "I would be shy at the beach. I know it sounds funny, but I'd wear high-necked clothes, unless I was at an adult-film convention. So I thought, 'why don't I be who I am and get my real ones back?'" (Getty photo)
"I was a 34B, but the right one was always bigger than the left," she told Us Weekly. "He gave me Cs, and I didn't want them. At all." (Getty photo)
"Well, I got my boobs done in my early 20s," Spelling told Good Morning America. "If I had known that it would or could possibly impact production of milk, I wouldn't have had them. I love being a mom. I am on my third baby. We want to have more. That's my role... these don't matter." (Getty photo)
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