photo: Corbis

A procedure that is more widely known as “vaginal rejuvenation" — which is a “tightening” of the vagina and/or "reshaping of the vulva or labia, the outer and inner lips of the vagina" — that some women seek after childbirth, weight loss, or aging, is now a sought after procedure by teen girls, a New York Times report shows. 

Although the increase in teen girls requesting genital cosmetic surgery isn't staggering, it's enough that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists "issued guidance from its Committee on Adolescent Health Care to doctors last week, urging them to teach and to reassure patients, suggest alternatives to surgery that may alleviate discomfort, and screen them for a psychiatric disorder that causes obsession about perceived physical defects."

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The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports that "400 girls 18 and younger had labiaplasty last year, an 80 percent increase from the 222 girls who had cosmetic genital surgery in 2014." The New York Times also reports that these stats are likely to be much higher because the data "does not include procedures performed by gynecologists."

Although doctors aren't certain what is driving up the increase in cosmetic genital surgery, one reason might be due to the fact that more teen girls "shave or wax their pubic hair, exposing the genital area. According to a 2012 study, more than 70 percent of girls and young women ages 12 to 20 said they routinely shaved or waxed the pubic area." 

Having their vagina exposed gives way to insecurities about how their genitalia looks. 

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Dr. Veronica Gomez-Lobo, the director of Pediatric and Adolescent Obstetrics and Gynecology at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and the president of the North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology told the New York Times that not all of the surgeries are for vanity reasons and could be for actual discomfort. 

Other cosmetic surgical procedures requested by teens include correcting a misshapen nose, protruding ears, overly large breasts, asymmetrical breasts, or severe acne and scarring. 

According to the "American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) statistics, 63,623 cosmetic surgical procedures were performed on people age 13-19 in 2013, while 155,941 cosmetic minimally-invasive procedures were performed."

For more information on this topic visit the American College of Obstetricians and Gyne-cologists that has more resources available at www.acog.org/More-Info/AdolescentBreastLabialSurgery.