Embodying Barbie: Cosmetic gynecology on the rise in Canada – British Columbia

After six years of wishing she looked better below the belt, Alyssa recently shelled out $4,200 to have part of her labia removed. 

“Esthetically, there’s nothing hanging, there’s nothing really excess in that area so it does look better,” said Alyssa, whose name has been changed to protect her privacy. 

The procedure she got done, known as labiaplasty, was performed in 35 minutes under local anesthetic at the Toronto Cosmetic Clinic and is part of a trend toward cosmetic gynecology being seen in Canada and the U.S. 

Cosmetic surgeons argue the procedures can help women build confidence and resolve problems with sexual dysfunction.

But critics say the desire to get labia changed is driven by unattainable standards set by the prolific porn industry, and there is little evidence to support any claims the procedures provide women with any benefit. 

The clinic’s managing director, Sina Kashani, says the procedure has spiked in popularity since it was first offered in 2005.

Patients can choose from a range of styles — from the “Barbie,” “for a perfectly smooth look,” to the “more conservative” “peek-a-boo.” 

Cosmetic surgeons say demand for surgeries like labiaplasty has increased rapidly in the past few years. (Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

Four-fold increase

“Patience is the key when it comes to recovery,” Alyssa said. “The first couple of weeks is uncomfortable because it’s a very, very sensitive area.”

The Toronto clinic offers a range of cosmetic gynecology procedures that also include vaginoplasty to tighten the vaginal muscles, labia puffing to increase the outer labia, and hymenoplasty to repair broken hymens. 

While these surgeries aren’t new, Kashin says the procedures have increased four-fold since the clinic started offering them and it’s now one of several busy plastic surgery centres in Toronto that does so. 

Canada doesn’t keep statistics on cosmetic procedures, but according to the American Society for…

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