Health experts warn against `designer va****` ops for girls under 18
London: Experts have warned that female cosmetic genital surgery - so-called "designer vagina" operations - can be harmful and should not be offered to girls under the age of 18.
More and more women, including adolescents, are seeking the procedures because of a "distorted" image of what is normal presented in popular culture, pornography, and private clinic's own advertisements, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) Ethics Committee said.
The number of labial reductions - the most common procedure - carried out by the NHS has increased five-fold in the past decade, with 2,000 performed in 2010, the Independent reported.
But this could be just "the tip of the iceberg" because private clinics do not have to record data, according to joint reports from RCOG and the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology (BritSPAG).
Experts said that the procedures should not be offered to under-18s except in extremely rare circumstances where it was medically necessary, and should not be offered to anyone on the NHS without a clear medical justification.
Clinicians also need to do more to inform women about natural variations in genital appearance, Dame Suzi Leather, chair of the RCOG Ethics Committee said.