Cosmetic procedures billed as ”vaginal rejuvenation,” “designer vaginoplasty” or even “revirgination” are not medically necessary and are not guaranteed to be safe, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists cautioned on Friday.
The group, which educates and accredits doctors who treat women and deliver babies, said it is deceptive to give the impression that any of these procedures are accepted or routine.
In guidance published in the September issue of its journal, Obstetrics & Gynecology, the group, known as ACOG, said the procedures can cause complications such as infection, altered sensation, pain and scarring.
The procedures include changing the shape or size of the labia, “restoring” the hymen, and tightening the vagina.
Dr. Abbey Berenson, who helped write the guidelines, said some women may be fooled by deceptive marketing practices into thinking they need the surgery because they are somehow abnormal.
“Many women don’t realize that the appearance of external genitals varies significantly from woman to woman,” Berenson said in a statement.
ACOG noted that a growing number of doctors are offering the procedures.
“Some of these procedures, such as ‘vaginal rejuvenation,’ appear to be modifications of traditional vaginal surgical procedures for genuine medical conditions,” ACOG said in a statement.
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.
“There are always risks associated with a surgical procedure,” Berenson said. “It’s important that women understand the potential risks of these procedures and that there is no scientific evidence regarding their benefits.”