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BMJ Open 2:e001908 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001908
  • Obstetrics and gynaecology
    • Research

An analysis of the content and clinical implications of online advertisements for female genital cosmetic surgery

Press Release
  1. Sarah M Creighton
  1. UCL Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Institute of Women's Health, University College Hospital, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Sarah M Creighton; sarah.creighton{at}uclh.nhs.uk
  • Received 6 August 2012
  • Accepted 5 October 2012
  • Published 21 November 2012

Abstract

Objectives Women who are contemplating any form of female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS) are likely to seek information from provider websites. The aim of this study is to examine the breadth, depth and quality of clinical information communicated to women on 10 popular sites and to discuss the implications of the results.

Methods The content of online advertisement from 10 private providers that offer FGCS procedures was examined according to 16 information categories relating to indications for surgery, types of procedure, risks and benefits.

Results FGCS procedures were presented on all of the provider websites as an effective treatment for genital appearance concerns. No explanation for presenting clinical complaints was found. There was scanty reference to appearance diversity. Only minimal scientific information on outcomes or risks could be identified. There was no mention of potential alternative ways for managing appearance concerns or body dissatisfaction.

Conclusions The quality and quantity of clinical information in FGCS provider sites is poor, with erroneous information in some instances. Impeccable professionalism and ethical integrity is crucial for this controversial practice. Clear and detailed guidelines on how to raise the standard of information to women on all aspects of FGCS are urgently needed.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial License, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non commercial and is otherwise in compliance with the license. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/ and http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/legalcode.

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