Women should keep the right to choose a ‘designer vagina’ and it must not become a crime for women to opt for surgery. The call comes as the Government considers outlawing such procedures under a review of female genital mutilation, even though they are commonly carried out to address low self-esteem or physical discomfort.
A top UK surgeon is arguing it is disrespectful to ban woman from making their own decisions about such matters and that the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (which is considering the ban) has got it wrong.
Mr Amir Nakhdjevani, a highly respected cosmetic surgeon at the Bella Vou clinic in Tunbridge Wells, feels the publicity surrounding illegal female genital mutilation (FGM) has clouded the Government’s judgement.
Many women seek a surgical solution when they have concerns over the size of their labia. These women should be able to exercise their choice to have a labiaplasty procedure to overcome these psychological and physical concerns, which can often have a profound impact on their lives and relationships.
The Crown Prosecution Service is considering whether doctors who perform designer vagina operations – known as ‘labiaplasty’ – are committing an offence under 1985 laws which prohibit FGM.
Mr Nakhdjevani explained:
Labiaplasty is only carried out on adult women who choose to have the procedure for medical or cosmetic reasons. It involves removing excess tissue from the labia – nothing else. FGM on the other hand is often inflicted on young women against their will for so-called (misguided) “cultural” reasons or punishment and can involve the removal of the entire clitoris and labia, often by untrained individuals, leading to health problems and even death. The two should not be confused by the legal system. I deplore FGM.
Labiaplasty isn’t a frivolous cosmetic procedure. I see many women who are in discomfort, with impaired function and who suffer very low self-esteem. I provide a safe permanent solution that frequently transforms the lives of my patients. This should be available to all women under tough controls and regulations to ensure appropriate levels of care and understanding.
Increasing numbers of women are opting for labiaplasty surgery. Numbers have trebled in the last 10 years. There are over 100 clinics offering women labiaplasty surgery in the UK. Mr Nakhdjevani, the top surgeon at Bella Vou in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, performs at least one such operation every week.
While the majority of operations are to relieve discomfort, Mr Nakhdjevani admits that a negative consequence of the widespread availability of pornography and a trend to remove pubic hair have made the operation more popular. He added:
But the fact remains this is a matter of choice for women – unlike FGM.