Researchers at the UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute of Women’s Health, University College Hospital in London, England recently conducted a survey to assess what kind of information is available online for women who are considering genital cosmetic surgery (such as labiaplasty). What they found—that many of the websites out there, including plastic surgeons’ websites, are sorely lacking in accurate information about what these kinds of procedures truly entail—is very concerning.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that the best kind of patient is a well-informed patient. Doctors of all specialties, including plastic surgeons, have a responsibility to educate their patients and protect their interests. That’s why Dr. Chiu-Collins and I do our best to provide accurate information here on our blog and on the San Francisco Plastic Surgery & Laser Center’s website about the procedures we perform, and why we make ourselves available for free consultations at our office.
In my experience, most women who pursue labiaplasty do so because they experience pain or discomfort when wearing tight clothing (such as jeans or yoga pants) or when playing sports or engaging in activities such as bike riding or horseback riding. For others, the desire for the procedure stems from a feeling of shame or embarrassment about the way their genitals look. Regardless of their reasons, I’m always careful to go over what a labiaplasty entails with each of my patients before they come in for surgery, and I also provide extensive information about the procedure (including a video of me performing an actual labiaplasty) on my website.
I share the UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute of Women’s Health’s concerns about this issue; patients deserve to have all the information about medical procedures they’re considering for themselves. If you’re thinking of undergoing labiaplasty, be sure to do the research first—and if the plastic surgeon you’re thinking of going to for the procedure isn’t offering you adequate information, then you should consider going to someone who does!