Is Female Cosmetic Genital Surgery Legitimate?

By Clinch, Nanette; Osland, Asbjorn | Journal of Critical Incidents, Annual 2011 | Go to article overview

Is Female Cosmetic Genital Surgery Legitimate?


Clinch, Nanette, Osland, Asbjorn, Journal of Critical Incidents


Is female cosmetic genital surgery (FCGS) a legitimate business? Doctors that performed FCGS and their patients thought so while professional societies questioned the practice. The Second Global Symposium on Cosmetic Vaginal Surgery was held on September 23-25, 2010 in Las Vegas (International Society of Cosmetogynecology, 2010). Plastic surgeons had established FCGS as a service promoted on the internet, including vaginal rejuvenation and tightening, labia reduction and beautification, and reconstruction of the hymen.

Several professional societies voiced their opposition. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RANZCOG) publicly opposed FCGS (Braun, 2010, p. 1393). At least one professional society in the US expressed its opposition; the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) cautioned against the various practices.

Plastic surgeons offered FCGS services even though ACOG stated these are, "are not medically indicated, nor is there documentation of their safety and effectiveness," and that "it is deceptive to give the impression that any of these procedures are accepted and routine surgical practices." It warned of "potential complications, including infection, altered sensation, ... pain, adhesions, and scarring." The report indicated wide variation in the external appearance of female genitalia. ACOG was "concerned with the ethical issues associated with the marketing and national franchising of cosmetic vaginal procedures. A business model that controls the dissemination of scientific knowledge is troubling." Medical advances are supposed to be documented in professional journals, not true of FCGS.

Health benefits and risks were a concern. According to Braun (2010), FCGS procedures were questionable. Vaginal tightening may not lead to improved sexual function. The role of engorged labia minora during sexual arousal was not fully understood, so permanent alteration of the labia minora through FCGS could pose unknown risks and reduce sensitivity vital for sexual functioning.

Since appearances of female genitalia vary, promotion of cosmetic surgery rested on the unscientific assumption there was a perfect model. Liao and Creighton (2007, p. 1091) discussed women's requests for FCGS: "... our patients sometimes cited restrictions on lifestyle for their decision. These restrictions included an inability to wear tight clothing, go to the beach ... or avoidance of some sexual practices." The authors referred to the current market orientation as a demand for "designer vaginas." They pointed out that in their study of 50 premenopausal women there were significant variations in the physical features and symmetry of female genitalia. Yet women approached the physician with a standard view, relying on images from advertising or pornography.

External images of ideal female sexuality in the media did not, of course, represent the natural beauty of women or the range of what a female might consider beneficial. The New View Campaign (2010) challenged the notion that current medical practices and standards fully acknowledged the sexual needs of women. The complexity of women's needs thus demands enhanced appreciation of the socio-cultural, political and economic context, partner relationships, psychological factors and medical factors (New View Campaign, Manifesto 2010). Female sexuality was complex; most women would not really be satisfied by an FCGS standard established by plastic surgeons responding to clients' incorrect standard images.

Business Legitimacy

When a new technology, FCGS in this case, lays a foundation for a potential new line of business, entrepreneurs need to learn how to deal with strategic issues peculiar to the embryonic stage of an industry. Furthermore, a technology is not always value neutral, but can involve ethical controversies. Entrepreneurs should assess the ethical implications of the technology and formulate strategies to shape the institutional environment to their advantage. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Is Female Cosmetic Genital Surgery Legitimate?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.