Female genital cosmetic surgery (Journal editorial)


Lowe, J. and Black, K.I. (2021), Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol, 61: 325-327. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajo.13363

Female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS) is a relatively new and highly controversial surgical field where sociocultural influences and medicine collide. Procedures under this umbrella term include vaginoplasty, hymenoplasty, and labiaplasty.

Labiaplasty is the most common of these and typically involves procedures to reduce or reshape the labia minora or less frequently the labia majora. A commonly desired outcome is ‘The Barbie’ vulva where the labia minora are trimmed to the extent of invisibility, with no visible protuberance beyond the labia majora. The procedure can be performed by gynaecologists, cosmetic surgeons, plastic surgeons, and urologists with various surgical techniques described including wedge resection and labial trimming.

First documented in the 1970s, FGCS is now advertised on clinician websites, featured in lifestyle magazines and a topic raised both in clinical and social contexts. In particular, the notion of the ‘perfect labia’ has entered public consciousness in the last few decades. Numbers of labiaplasty procedures have been growing over the same period in Australia, along with parallel rises in Europe and the United States.

By J Pope

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