'Designer vagina' websites criticised for making 'unsubstantiated claims' about benefits of procedures

 

Online information about so-called designer vaginas is often “poor and inaccurate”, researchers said.

Websites of companies that provide female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS) make "unsubstantiated claims" about the benefits of the procedures.

They also use confusing terminology and do not highlight surgical risks, according to the research published in BMJ Open.

Researchers from University College Hospital, London, examined the data women can access if they are considering surgery.

They performed a snapshot analysis on websites of 10 private providers that offer FGCS procedures.

They concluded: "The terminology used to describe the operations performed is confusing.

"Little information is given on short-term or long-term surgical risks either from individual clinics and their surgeons or from the medical literature.

"Unsubstantiated claims of physical, psychological and sexual benefits were present on every website."

The researchers added that it was "disturbing" that there is not a lower age limit for the surgery.

They said that in the past six years more than 300 teenage girls have had genital cosmetic surgery on the NHS.

"The absence of a lower age limit for any of the FGCS procedures is most disturbing of all," the authors wrote.

"In the past six years, 343 labiaplasties were performed in the UK NHS on girls aged 14 or under. The indications for surgery in this group of children are unknown, but labial anomalies requiring surgical interventions are extremely rare.

"In a recent observational study of referral patterns, girls as young as nine years with normal labia had presented for labiaplasty.

"The labia minora change as part of normal pubertal growth, with development completed as the individual approaches adulthood

"Given the fact that anatomy continues to change throughout the lifespan, the younger a girl begins her FGCS journey the higher the number of lifetime operations and the greater and more multiple the risks."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "There is no such thing as a designer vagina on the NHS.

"Of course there is cosmetic surgery carried out on the NHS, but this is only for patients who have a clinical need for it - absolutely not for those who would simply like to have it done."

PA

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

    Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

    £16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

    Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

    £7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

    Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
    Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

    Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

    No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
    How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

    Power of the geek Gods

    Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
    What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

    Perfect match

    What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

    Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

    Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
    Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

    Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

    He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high