It’s likely that minority women are less likely to get a labiaplasty or vaginoplasty than white women are, if we’re to believe that a new report published in the February issue of ARCHIVES OF SURGERY applies nationally. According to that report, which surveyed only New York City, when minorities do get plastic surgery, it’s less likely to have been done by a surgeon who has done a lot of similar procedures,or at a facility where many such procedures have been done.
This is not a shock, however, For decades, there have been notable racial differences in health and medical outcomes. It raises the disturbing possibility that minorities are getting their care, including plastic surgery procedures, from lower-quality providers. And it’s probably not a coincidence that other reports have shown surgeons which perform more of a specific procedure have better success rates and fewer complications.
So why is there such a wide disparity between whites and minorities as to who hires the more experienced plastic surgeon and who hires the less experienced? There are a couple of possibilities. One has to do with financial matters. Lower incomes and geographical barriers prevent minority women from going to the higher-quality providers or from traveling beyond their own neighborhood to have a procedure done. There’s also a theory put forth by the author of the study that says minorities might not be exposed to information about provider quality. As a result, they are left thinking that one surgeon is as good as another, and that there is no way to find someone who might do a better job.
The lessons for us are clear: Too many people are seeking out the cheapest plastic surgeon available. If you are a minority or even a white woman considering a procedure such as labiaplasty, vaginoplasty, breast enhancement, or some other plastic surgery, you need to understand that cost should not be your number one consideration. The best surgeons are not always the most expensive, but they’re also seldom the least expensive. Make experience and reputation your most important considerations. And then, if you don’t have money to afford that surgeon, then rather than settle for an inferior surgery, wait the four or five or six months necessary to save. After all, if you hire an inferior surgeon, you’re likely to have to go back for adjustments anyway. It’s better to get it right than get it cheap.