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ABSTRACT

Introduction.  Elective vulvar plastic surgery was the topic of a heated discussion on the list-serve of the International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Medicine. At the suggestion of a board member, it was determined that this discussion might of interest to journal readers in the form of a published controversy.

Methods.  Six people with expertise and/or strong opinions in the area of vulvar health, several of whom had been involved in the earlier online discussion, were invited to submit evidence-based opinions on the topic.

Main Outcome Measure.  To provide food for thought, discussion, and possible further research in a poorly discussed area of sexual medicine.

Results.  Goodman believes that patients should make their own decisions. Bachmann further states that, while that is a woman's right, she should be counseled first, because variations in looks of the vulvar region are normal. Johnson furthers this thought, discussing the requirement for counseling before performing reinfibulation surgery on victims of female genital cutting. Fourcroy emphasizes the need to base surgical procedures on safety and efficacy in the long term, and not merely opportunity at the moment. Goldstein and Goldstein state that, based on the four principles of ethical practice of medicine, vulvar plastic surgery is not always ethical, but not always unethical. Sklar pursues this thought further, pointing out specific examples in regard to the principles of ethics.

Conclusion.  Vulvar plastic surgery may be warranted only after counseling if it is still the patient's preference, provided that it is conducted in a safe manner and not solely for the purpose of performing surgery. Goodman MP, Bachmann G, Johnson C, Fourcroy JL, Goldstein A, Goldstein G, and Sklar S. Is elective vulvar plastic surgery ever warranted, and what screening should be done preoperatively? J Sex Med 2007;4:269–276.