There’s a new trend in the world of plastic surgery that I pray never becomes popular in my specialty area of labiaplasty and vaginoplasty: the idea of plastic-surgery-at-home.
I saw this in the newspaper just one week into 2010, and immediately I started getting worries. According to the article, there is a growing trend toward DIY (“Do It Yourself” ) plastic surgery. There are apparently DIY procedures for everything from laser treatments, to skin care, and even DIY Botox. You can get entire do-it-yourself kits, complete with the necessary products and instructions online. No, I won’t tell you where to find them, because I strongly discourage the use of these products. As should any credible doctor. Yes, it’s true the do-it-yourself procedures can be cheaper than going to a plastic surgeon, but they can also be more dangerous. Much more dangerous.
Most of these kits are not always do-it-yourself. Many times, they are designed so that a friend comes into your home and does the procedure for you, but still, if this person is not a trained professional, it’s foolish at best and dangerous at worst to allow this.
Other things are actually done by the “patients” themselves. For instance, many doctors have noticed that more women are buying injectable filler material and, without any prior training, injecting themselves. It does not help that the Internet makes such practices as this so affordable and simple to order.
This is especially worrisome of DIY ever comes to the field of labiaplasty or vaginoplasty. Many people in third world countries already practice genital mutilation, but what has distinguished legitimate labiaplasty from those crude practices has always been the fact that here, we do this in a sanitary environment using professional, sanitized equipment, and it’s done by doctors who have trained at medical school just as surely as a heart surgeon has. If DIY ever becomes widespread in the West, there will be little to distinguish it from third world practices. And they will likely be just as dangerous and damaging.
Bottom line: You would not remove your own appendix or take out a friend’s tonsils. A doctor’s work is best left to a doctor, and that includes the work of the plastic surgeon. Any other approach is downright dangerous — and foolish.