Should all advertising of cosmetic surgery be banned? YesBMJ 2012; 345 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7489 (Published 07 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7489
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In response to Fiona Godlee's "Editor's Choice" the Medical Women's Federation (MWF) supports the Medical Women's International Association (MWIA) in taking a stand against cosmetic vaginal rejuvenation. There needs to be regulation on who offers these procedures and quality research into the need for this form of surgery. We endorse the recommendations of Michala et al (2012) from their review study that doctors should be wary of conducting cosmetic surgery on women whose genital dimensions are normal. They also recommended seeking psychological help in assessing and intervening in problems of body image, sexuality and relationships.
We applaud Fiona Godlee, BMJ Editor, who has highlighted our concerns issued through the Medical Women's International Association (MWIA) about the discussion on vaginal rejuvenation techniques that took place at the Federation of International Gynaecologists and Obstetricians (FIGO) meeting in Rome in October 2012. In response to Mahaffey's letter, yes, this is the beginning of a crusade into doing what is right for the female patient by providing informed consent.
1. Michala L, Liao L-M, Creighton SM. Female genital cosmetic surgery: how can clinicians act in women’s best interests? The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist 2012;14:203–206.
Competing interests: Both BDS and FC are Medical Women's Federation Officers
Plastic surgery can be likened to a knife which when given to a surgeon saves a life and to a murderer kills a life. It is one of the surgical specialities that gives hope and life back to many patients with disfigurement because of say congenital defects like cleft lips or a burn victim whose identity is given back because of the surgical skills of the plastic surgeon.
The project smile and the experience of Dr. Adenwala of Smile Train, who has done yeomen surgical service to cleft lip patients, speak to the yeomen service done by such surgeons to enhance the quality of life of such patients.
One could remember the cultural traits of Native Americans who prided themselves in their appearance which led to innumerable tribe members committing suicide. The story of a father who wanted his son to be buried with non-pathological appearance wanted the plastic surgeon to correct the cleft lip so that he could bury his son with pride and follow the tribe's culture and rituals.
The advertisement part is a Pandora's box about which one needs to be careful. The surgical skills and the name attained by the services given by a great plastic surgeon do not need advertisements. Yet for such services to reach all segments of society, advertisements seeking donations could rope the doctor into the circle of focus. Yet plastic surgeons not only correct pathological defects but also boost the derailed psyche of patients.
Competing interests: No competing interests
In her 'Editors Choice' this week, Fiona Godlee confesses to using this debate to give her "a chance to re-ignite a related controversy" and goes on to criticise cosmetic gynaecology. Whilst to an extent sharing her evident belief that this is society gone mad, its nevertheless perplexing as to why any logical person might focus on this tiny area of anatomy rather than surgery surrounding breasts, ears or abdominal walls. In all fairness, does our editor feel the same need to speak out when she sees a girl walking down the street with a bolt through her nose, or a disfiguring and irremovable tattoo across her neck? And if not, then why not? Surely we either crusade against all forms of the 'alteration of the non-pathological appearance' (Sir Harold Gillies's excellent definition of cosmetic surgery) or else we accept them all equally according to the dual mantras of 'caveat emptor' and 'patient choice'?
Competing interests: No competing interests