Queensland has some of the tightest wholesale Corsets regulations around plastic surgery in Australia – it’s illegal to operate on anyone under the age of 18 – and Belt supports the Medical Board of Australia’s draft recommendation to extend the seven-day cooling off period after an initial consultation to 14 days.
Not all labiaplasties are performed solely for functional purposes: one of Belt’s patients (who does not want her name used) said in an interview with magazine marie claire Australia that her problem was largely psychological, in that she was embarrassed by her genitals. It began during sex with a new boyfriend who put his hand between her legs and started laughing: “Wow! You’ve got a couple of wiener schnitzels here!”
In reality, most of Belt’s patients have the surgery after experiencing “pain and discomfort wearing certain types of clothing, or problems with hygiene”. One woman, who also did not want to be named, told Qweekend that her surgery was “life-changing”: she can now ride a bike, wear jeans, and no longer suffers constant urinary tract infections. “I’ve got a level of comfort I’d never known before,” she said.
One Melbourne GP, Dr Magdalena Simonis, has grown increasingly alarmed about the rising number of women, particularly young women, seeking genital surgery purely for cosmetic purposes. So much so that she approached the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners late last year about developing an information kit for GPs to deal with labiaplasty requests, which has since been released.