Several adolescent gynecologists told the BBC that young girls under the age of 15 were increasingly seeking out the operation, which shortens and reforms the labia minor surrounding the vagina—most often because they are distressed by the size or shape of their vulvas. In , labiaplasty was the second-fastest growing cosmetic procedure in the US after breast enlargement, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. That figure has been relatively steady over the past decade at least, and some of those surgeries relate to injury, recurrent disease, or infection, according to the NHS.
Girls as young as 11 are seeking surgery on their vagina to make it look 'like a Barbie', a GP claims. Young girls are expressing disgust at their genitalia, believing it to be the wrong shape or size, which Dr Paquita de Zuluet believes is driven by pornography and social media. She even claims girls exaggerate the physical or emotional distress their vaginas are causing them in order to make themselves eligible for surgery. The procedure is illegal to conduct on girls under 18 unless they have a medical reasons, such as their genitalia causing them emotional or physical distress. Yet, a cosmetic surgeon defended the procedure in adults, arguing it can boost women's self-esteem and confidence. In more than girls under 18 had the operation, known as a labiaplasty, on the NHS.
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Girls as young as nine are opting to have surgery on their private parts because of body insecurities that stem from social media and pornography, doctors have revealed. Naomi Crouch, a leading adolescent gynaecologist, told the BBC about the worrying trend and admitted that she is concerned GPs are referring young girls for unneeded labiaplasty - an operation where the lips of the vagina are shortened or reshaped. She also added that the rise is the fault of pornography and social media and that, in her opinion, labiaplasty should only be performed on girls who have a medical abnormality. In , more than girls under 18 had labiaplasty on the NHS, with more than of the girls aged under
She was so worried she made her Mum take her to a doctor to explore the option of surgery. Kathy, now 18, is part of a new pilot study aimed at understanding why a growing number of Australian girls, as young as 11, are seeking cosmetic surgery on their otherwise normal genitals. While the research study is still in its early stages, with eleven interviews so far, Ms Barnard says those she has spoken to had little sense at the time of what a normal vulva looked like. And that uncertainty can sometimes begin with their mothers. None of them was abnormal. In the ten years before says she would have only seen two or three girls worried about the look of their genitals. Professor Grover says that in the majority of cases, any concerns girls may have about their labial appearance can be effectively managed through education and counselling. There are also risks. According to the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, these include infection, wound rupturing, pain during intercourse and reduced lubrication. Yet demand for the procedure is going up and it is being widely marketed by commercial cosmetic clinics.