Vulva surgery is becoming more popular among teens, doctors worry

More and more teenage girls have their vaginal lips modified or redone. A phenomenon that worries many specialists, especially because this operation may result in "a decrease in sexual sensation, numbness, pain or scarring".

Have you ever heard the term labiaplasty or nymphoplasty? This is the new fashionable surgery, which is not to redo the lobe of the ear but the vulva. Specifically, to reduce or change the size of the large or small lips of the vagina. And since about fifteen years, this trend continues to grow. If the phenomenon is still very weak in France, it affects more and more teenage girls in the United Kingdom and the United States, temple of cosmetic surgery.

In July, the BBC published an article according to which more than 200 British minors (including 156 under 15 years old) underwent labiaplasty in 2015-2016. The UK health agency, the National Health Service, however, advises against this procedure to those under 18 years, their genitals are not formed definitively, especially if the patient claims the operation for purely aesthetic reasons .

"But young women know that they will be more likely to get this operation if they say that it disrupts their sexual relations, their practice of sport.They feel that it will make them normal," said general practitioner Paquita from Zulueta to the British channel. "I see 11, 12 or 13 year-old girls who think they have a problem with their vulva, that she does not have the right shape, the right size, in fact, they seem disgusted by their intimacy", she lamented, recalling that the genitals can have various shapes and colors while being perfectly normal.

Over 80% of labiaplasties among young girls in the United States in one year

In 2016, it's the American newspaper The New York Times who was worried about this growing trend among American teens following the publication of figures from the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery: 400 girls under 18 years would have used a labiaplasty in 2015, against 222 in 2014, an increase of 80%. The media also pointed out that these data did not include procedures performed by gynecologists. Indeed, in the past, labiaplasty was only seen as a rejuvenation of the vagina after childbirth or in older women. "When the patient is in menopause or during peri-menopause, we also propose a lipofilling (fat sampling on the patient then it is injected into the labia majora to provide volume) of the labia majora," says the Dr. Mohamed Derder, cosmetic surgeon in Paris, France Current Women.

So why such a craze among young Anglo-Saxons? Some doctors make the link with waxing or shaving more and more important pubic hair that reveals more and more lips. In addition, teenage girls are increasingly exposed to porn, they are constantly confronted with the sexes they imagine "perfect": smooth, depilated and symmetrical, with no lip that exceeds. "A lot of women see porn movies where everything is" clean ", and that's what they want, I can not explain this request other than saying: it's our society that wants it," commented the Canadian surgeon Carlos Cordoba in February 2015 at the news site La Presse.

But beyond the worrying societal issues it poses, this operation is not without physical risks. Indeed, "the lips have a lot of nerve endings, so there may be a decrease in sexual sensation after the operation, numbness, pain or scarring," said Dr. Julie Strickland, president of the American College of Gynecologists and obstetricians, following a meeting on the subject in January 2017. Following this, the specialists had issued guidelines for US doctors via a document asking gynecologists to evaluate all alternatives to labiaplasty to relieve the problem. discomfort or discomfort of the patient. And eventually to detect dysmorphophobia, the haunting fear of being ugly or deformed.

More vigilant doctors in France

In France, however, we are still far from all that. "Here, the surgical doctor responds to rigorous procedures and we operate less easily than in the United States." Doctors are very vigilant about age. There are patients who can not consult them at 14 or 15 years of age to ask for this type of intervention, "said Marc Abecassis, the chiropractor The Dispatch in 2015.

In detail, a labiaplasty or nymphoplasty costs between 1500 and 3000 € (with lipofilling). Its reimbursement is possible if the surgical act is performed for a non-aesthetic medical purpose. This limits the management of hypertrophied small lip reductions, when they are 4 cm or more. "Nevertheless, there is a derogation from the rule when a woman suffers from serious psychological disorders, related to the aspect of her genitals, this must be proven by a psychologist and approved by the medical adviser of the health insurance. case, the reimbursement of the surgery of the hypertrophy of the vaginal lips is dependent on the psychological report ", explains the site mutuelles.pascheres.org, comparator of mutuals.

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