Latest cosmetic surgery controversial
Women are paying as much as $12,000 to redesign their genitalia
By Suzette Laboy
These days, there's a plastic surgery procedure to renovate and rejuvenate just about anything. Botox for your wrinkles. Collagen for your lips. Silicon for your breasts.
And now women are paying big bucks — as much as $12,000 — to make their privates look and feel like new. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons does not compile data on the procedure, but Dr. Leroy Young, chairman of the group's Emerging Trends Taskforce, said there has been a significant demand because of a "literal explosion of Web sites" about it.
Designer Laser Vaginoplasty allows women to literally design their own vaginas, according to the Designer Laser Vaginal Institute of South Florida.
"Today people are beginning to realize the female genitalia has beauty and has ugliness," says Dr. Cesare A. O. Di Rocco, a gynecologist/obstetrician in the Miami area who has been performing these procedures since 1990. "I'm empowering women."
Of course, not all women find it empowering.
"It's kind of strange. I could understand for bladder control, but cosmetic?" says Elcy Barrios of Miami when asked what she thought about tightening her vagina.
Young, of the plastic surgery taskforce, said he's concerned that women seeking labial reduction are comparing themselves to what they see in Playboy — with no good sense of what their anatomy is supposed to look like.
"At first we thought this was a nonissue," Young said. "Not many people wanted or needed it. I think we were wrong about it."
He finds tightening surgeries ethically problematic: "That's usually a woman doing something that has not as much of a benefit for her as for the husband."
Risks for the surgery include bleeding, infection and a bad reaction to anesthesia, said Dr. Edward Jacobson, a gynecologist who practices in Greenwich, Conn., and consults in London.
"Specific for this surgery, clearly the concern is either being made too tight or — even worse — not being made tight enough," Jacobson said. "There's always potential damage to the adjacent organs," including the bladder and rectum.
If there are no complications, the operation, which takes about an hour or so, is practically bloodless and leaves only minor discomfort.
After six weeks, the patient can become sexually active again.
Women who have gone under the knife swear by the vaginal makeover.
"It looks like you're 16 again," says Sonia Valdez of Miami. The 36-year-old mother of two told Rocco that she "just wanted to change it."Valdez, who had her vaginal rejuvenation surgery done last February at a cost of about $8,000, describes it as a "trim" and "fix."
Cristina D'Agostino, a 22-year-old waitress, went to Rocco to have vaginal-repair surgery after giving birth to her daughter. Now, she says, "it's tighter and more supportive. Muscles work a little bit better."