Provider sites give poor info on cosmetic genital surgery

December 6, 2012
Provider sites give poor info on cosmetic genital surgery
The Web sites of providers of female genital cosmetic surgery offer a limited amount of poor quality clinical information, according to a study published online Nov. 21 in BMJ Open.

(HealthDay)—The Web sites of providers of female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS) offer a limited amount of poor quality clinical information, according to a study published online Nov. 21 in BMJ Open.

To investigate the breadth, depth, and quality of clinical information communicated to women, Lih-Mei Liao, Ph.D., from University College Hospital in London, and colleagues analyzed the content of online advertisements from 10 private providers offering FGCS procedures. Included in the study were the first five U.S. and U.K. providers to appear in Google search results. Sixteen information categories were examined, which related to indications for surgery, types of procedure, risks, and benefits.

The researchers found that, on all provider Web sites, FGCS procedures were described as an effective treatment for genital appearance concerns, with no explanation for presenting clinical complaints. Reference to appearance diversity was scant and only minimal on outcomes or risks was found. Potential alternative methods to manage appearance concerns or were not mentioned.

"The quality and quantity of in FGCS provider sites is poor, with erroneous information in some instances. Impeccable professionalism and ethical integrity is crucial for this controversial practice," the authors write. "Clear and detailed guidelines on how to raise the standard of information to women on all aspects of FGCS are urgently needed."

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