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BMJ Open 2: 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

Table 1

Chosen criteria for analysis of websites

Criteria What was analysed
1. Types of procedure offered Procedures classified into general types of procedure (if possible)
2. Description of procedure Information given on surgical technique and other information for example, use of laser
3. Use of medical rhetoric Suggestions that treatment is for a medical condition. Specific use of the term ‘labial hypertrophy’ as an indication for labiaplasty.
4. Symptoms that surgery treats Physical discomfort or appearance concerns
5. Benefits of surgery stated or implied Improve discomfort or appearance. Mention of any other benefits such as hygiene
6. Success rates What percentage of women achieve the benefits listed in 5.
7. Specific reference to social and psychological advantages Non medical benefits such as confidence leading to other advantages.
8. Specific reference to enhancement of sexual experience Any mention that sex will be improved for the patient or partner.
9. Risks of surgery Infection and bleeding should be documented as a potential risk of any surgical procedure. Other recognised risks include scarring and dissatisfaction with outcome.
10. Absence or presence of a caution section Are consumers advised to think carefully before proceeding to FGCS?
11. Aftercare Basic wound hygiene should be given following any genital surgical procedure
12. Immediate outcomes These would include beneficial outcomes and short-term risks as listed in 9.
13. Long-term outcomes These would include beneficial outcomes such as those listed in 5,7 and 8 as well as potential risks listed in 9.
14. Absence or presence of positive testimonials Usually in the form of personal stories about how surgery impacted upon an individual
15. Absence or presence of ‘before’ and ‘after’ images Photographs ‘before’ and ‘after’ were analysed. Some sites contained videos which we did not analyse
16. Lowest age limit for surgery Any mention that 16 years is the age of legal consent for surgery

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