FEMALE cosmetic genital surgery - so-called "designer vagina" operations - are almost always unnecessary, can be harmful and should not be offered to girls under 18, experts have said.
More and more women are seeking the procedures because of a "distorted" image of what is normal, presented in popular culture, pornography and private clinics' advertisements, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) Ethics Committee said.
The number of labial reductions (the most common procedure) carried out by the NHS has increased fivefold in the past decade, with 2,000 performed in 2010.
But this could be "the tip of the iceberg" because private clinics do not have to record data, said RCOG and the British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Gynaecology.
The experts said the procedures should not be offered to under-18s except where medically necessary.