25 November 2012

Designer vaginas for pre pubescents? More Lazy hackdom from the Mail and the Expres and the Sun and....

Jenny Hope is  Daily Mail journalist who seems to write on health issues. A few days ago she wrote a piece of shit with the headline


Hundreds of young girls are having ‘designer vagina’ surgery on the NHS, say researchers.

 Figures show 343 operations were performed on girls aged 14 or under in the last six years, possibly for cosmetic reasons. The procedures involve reshaping female genitalia and requests may be granted on the grounds that the problem is psychologically damaging.

Researchers from University College Hospital, London, led by Dr Sarah Creighton, claim it is ‘disturbing’ that there is no minimum age limit for the surgery. They say demand may be growing for such procedures because of poor and inaccurate information available on the internet, usually from private clinics....

They also use confusing terminology and do not highlight surgical risks, according to the research published in BMJ Open. A survey of 10 websites found little information was given on short-term or long-term surgical risks either from individual clinics and their surgeons or from the medical literature. ‘'Unsubstantiated claims of physical, psychological and sexual benefits were present on every website’ said consultant gynaecologist Dr Creighton.

Charlotte Meredith  is a Journalist for the Daily Express Her ile of lazy billshit oh I'm sorry OI meant her story was given the headline


CHILDREN as young as nine, influenced by 'pornstar chic', are asking for vaginal cosmetic surgery on the NHS, a British Medical Journal Open study shows.
An incredible 343 labiaplasties were performed on girls aged 14 or younger over the last six years, the journal reveals.

There has been a huge surge of cosmetic labiaplasty – which reduces the size of labia – in recent years and cosmetic surgeons have reported a rise in requests of 'designer vaginas' modeled on Playboy bunnies and pornstars.

The Department of Health says it only carries out the procedure for clinical reasons, such as on those with vaginal injuries.

The Sun gives the story

 Hundreds of young girls getting ‘designer vaginas’

he story has no byline

In fact the paper Creighton published with others was called An analysis of the content and clinical implications of online advertisements for female genital cosmetic surgery and can be downloaded in PDF form from the internet

One paragraph relates to labiaplasties conducted by the NHS

The absence of a lower age limit for any of the FGCS procedures is most disturbing of all. In the past 6 years,   343 labiaplasties were performed in the UK NHS on girls aged 14 or under.26 The indications for surgery in this group of children are unknown, but labial anomal- ies requiring surgical interventions are extremely rare. In addition, significant numbers of labiaplasties on girls under 18 years of age are reported in the medical litera- ture with publications dwelling specifically on labial reductions in adolescents for hypertrophy or asymmetry of the labia minora.4 In a recent observational study of referral patterns, girls as young as 9 years with normal labia had presented for labiaplasty.27 The labia minora change as part of normal pubertal growth with develop- ment completed as the individual approaches adult- hood. Given the fact that anatomy continues to change throughout the lifespan, the younger a girl begins her FGCS journey, the higher the number of lifetime opera- tions and the greater and more multiple the risks.

Yes perhas it is concerning given that puberty of course means huge changes (and water is wet yes I know!)

But essentially Hope is lifitng a minor piece of a much longer report taking it out of context having a sub editor put on a lurid but misleading eadline to cause readers to rant over their cornflakes... But it's lazy journalism.

So what does the NHS say about it all? Here is a considered response from the NHS

...The  media focused on a type of surgery known as labiaplasty, which involves removing a section of labia tissue (the labia makes up part of the external structure of the female genitalia).  While the study does accurately quote NHS statistics showing more than 300 labiaplasties were performed by the NHS on girls aged 14 or younger in the last six years, there is no evidence that these operations were performed for cosmetic reasons (to create ‘designer vaginas’).

There are a number of clinical reasons why a labiaplasty may be performed, such as an excess of labia tissue (labial hypertrophy) causing pain and making a child vulnerable to repeat infection or causing them problems with urination.

This is a worthwhile study on a new and controversial cultural phenomenon. It found that the quality and quantity of medical information provided by such online clinics on labiaplasties (and similar cosmetic procedures) is poor, unscientific and at times incorrect. It found that none of the websites gave a lower age limit for cosmetic labiaplasty procedures.
However, the media has ‘spun’ the results of this study to suggest that unjustified female genital cosmetic surgery in children is somehow commonplace in the NHS.
The Department of Health has reportedly said that labiaplasties, or other types of genital surgery, would be carried out in the NHS only on patients “who have a clinical need.”

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from University College Hospital London. There was no external funding.  The study was published in the peer-reviewed, open-access medical journal, BMJ Open.

Of the reporting of the study, only The Independent provided a balanced view of the findings, reporting that cosmetic surgery websites provided poor quality information on female genital cosmetic surgery. All the other newspapers reporting on the story (Metro, The Sun and the Daily Mail) lead with the baseless accusation that labiaplasties on children for cosmetic reasons have been undertaken hundreds of times by the NHS over the last six years.

While the researchers argue that labial anomalies requiring surgical interventions are extremely rare in teenagers, they do not provide any evidence that the NHS is carrying out unnecessary surgeries.
The study raises valid concerns about the advertising of female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS), but the majority of the news reporting has not focused on this.

What did the research involve?
The researchers identified websites offering FGCS using Google (chosen because it is the most popular search engine) and entering the term “designer vagina”.
The first five UK and five US providers to appear in the search results were included in the study.
The researchers developed 16 information categories or criteria for analysing the content of the websites, building on the Questions to ask a surgeon article on the NHS Choices website, adding questions about clinical effectiveness and adverse effects. The 16 criteria were:
  • types of procedure offered
  • description of procedure (information on surgical technique)
  • use of medical terms (to suggest that treatment is for a medical condition)
  • symptoms that surgery treats (such as physical discomfort or concerns about appearance)
  • benefits of surgery (such as improving discomfort, appearance or hygiene)
  • success rates (what percentage of women achieve the benefits listed)
  • reference to psychological and social advantages (non-medical benefits such as confidence)
  • reference to enhancement of sexual experience (any mention sex will be improved for patient or partner)
  • risks of surgery (such as infection and bleeding)
  • absence or presence of a caution section (whether consumers were advised to think carefully before proceeding to FGCS)
  • aftercare (basic wound hygiene)
  • immediate outcomes (short-term benefits and risks)
  • long-term outcomes
  • absence or presence of positive testimonials (for example personal stories)
  • absence or presence of before and after images
  • lowest age limit for surgery (any mention that 16 years is the age of legal consent for surgery)
Each website was evaluated to confirm suitability for inclusion and to collect the information relevant to each category. All websites were then assessed independently.

What were the basic results?

The researchers found that the 10 websites named 72 different procedures using non-standard terminology. The researchers say these probably refer to the most common surgeries. Names included “vulval reshaping”, “vulva and vaginal rejuvenation”, “revirgination” and “Mommy Makeover”.
Below are the main findings:
  • all websites claimed that surgery would improve the appearance of the female genitalia and give discomfort relief
  • 5 out of 10 sites claimed improved sexual relationships and pleasure
  • 4 out of 10 sites claimed improved hygiene
  • none of the sites mentioned the current absence of evidence for clinical effectiveness
  • only three sites made reference to “appearance diversity” – the fact that the size and shape of external female genitalia (labia) varies widely, but they still recommended surgery
  • all sites mentioned that surgery has risks, but these were not named on 4 out of 10 sites
  • all sites gave general aftercare advice
  • there was no information on short-term or long-term outcomes of surgery based on actual data
  • there was no mention of alternative ways of managing appearance concerns
  • none of the sites gave a lower age limit for surgery

How did the researchers interpret the results?

They conclude that the quality and quantity of clinical information on the websites is poor and in some circumstances contained errors. “Impeccable professionalism and ethical integrity is crucial for this controversial practice,” they argue. Adding that clear and detailed guidelines on how to raise the standard of information to women on all aspects of FGCS are urgently needed. They also argue that the websites themselves may be contributing to cultural stereotypes of an “idealised vulva”.
The researchers conclude that the absence of a lower age limit for any of the procedures is the most disturbing finding. In their discussion, they state that 343 labiaplasties were performed in the UK NHS on girls aged 14 and under in the past six years, pointing out that “the indications for surgery in this group of children are unknown, but labial anomalies requiring surgical interventions are extremely rare”. While the papers have interpreted this to mean that the surgery is being done on the NHS for cosmetic reasons, it is perhaps more likely that the authors were saying that it is rarely medically necessary and that is why there have only been around 57 per year.

This study of the information on female genital cosmetic surgery by private providers raises concerns about its quality. As the researchers point out, they did not conduct a systematic search of such information, and used only one search term and one search engine (Google).
However, the study does offer a glimpse of what women and girls may come across when searching for this kind of information on the internet.

It could be argued that guidelines on advertising should be developed in this area, in particular on the terminology used to describe the surgery performed.

On the issue of FGCS within the NHS, a Department of Health spokeswoman told the media that “there is no such thing a designer vagina on the NHS. Of course there is cosmetic surgery carried out on the NHS, but this is only for patients who have a clinical need for it (such as reconstructive surgery after an accident) and absolutely not for those who would simply like to have it done.”

So what conclusions can you draw? Well one I can draw is that Jenny Hope, Charlotte Meredith and  a number of other journalists are lazy hack working for papers that would far rather present bullshit to enrage their readers than bother with the truth. If they had any integrity they would have focused on the crap spewed out by cosmetic surgery websites and looked into the reasons why the NHS performs labiaplasties on young girls.


Don QuiScottie said...

Oh. The headline made me think they might have had something like "GAP" or "FCUK" or even "This is not just a vagina... this is an M&S vagina" stamped across them. Which gives me an idea. I have an organ or three available for sponsorship if any company would like to pay me (although the number of views they could expect for their money may be rather limited).

Sorry. Not a very serious comment. But it's my comment.

Syncopated Eyeball said...

No wonder I rarely read a newspaper.

You know what troubles me as well as the obvious msleading sensationalism in that headline?

A vagina is not a vulva is not a vagina!

It irritates me enormously that the nomenclature of female genitalia seems so muddled or even unknown to so many.

Steve Hayes said...

Amazing ignorance about anatomy -- not knowing the difference between labia and vagina.

I wonder if they did a search for operations on boys with undescended testicles -- would they then claim that they were undergoing surgery for "penis enlargement"?

jams o donnell said...

Oh dear Don.. me it would have to be small ads!

Syncy Steve I know what you mean. the term designer vaginas is the one that's used to describe labiaplasties however erroneous. It's shit journalism though

Syncopated Eyeball said...

Ha ha! Quite!

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Ehehe... "lazy hack" seems to become an oxymoron in this century.

jams o donnell said...

True but I couldn't think of a better expression without use of expletives!