Surgeries to Shape Labia, Restore Hymen, Tighten Vagina are Unsafe – ACOG

WASHINGTON - The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has cautioned that the cosmetic procedures, often publicized as "vaginal rejuvenation," "designer vaginoplasty," or even "revirgination," are not medically necessary and are not guaranteed to be safe.

It is deceptive to give the impression that any of these procedures are accepted or routine, stated the ACOG, which educates and accredits the doctors treating women and delivering babies.

The ACOG guidance published in the September issue of its journal, Obstetrics & Gynecology has articulated that the procedures, such as changing the shape or size of the labia, "restoring" the hymen, and tightening the vagina, can cause complications such as infection, altered sensation, pain and scarring.

According to Dr. Abbey Berenson, one of the authors of guidelines, some women may be fooled by deceptive marketing practices into thinking they need the surgery because they are somehow abnormal.

Berenson said, "Many women don't realize that the appearance of external genitals varies significantly from woman to woman."

According to the ACOG, the number of doctors offering the procedures is growing. Some of these procedures, such as 'vaginal rejuvenation,' appear to be modifications of traditional vaginal surgical procedures for genuine medical conditions. The true medical conditions that merit the surgery include pelvic prolapse, the reversal or repair of female genital cutting, sometimes known as female circumcision, and the reversal of abnormalities caused by hormone imbalances.

Berenson said, "There are always risks associated with a surgical procedures; it's important that women understand the potential risks of these procedures and that there is no scientific evidence regarding their benefits."