In the Media

Let’s Get (more than) Physical

by Linda B. Bolido, Philippine Daily Inquirer, February 19, 2008

“EVERYTHING IS VANITY,” King Solomon said. But for people who undergo some form of reshaping or reconstruction of any part of their faces and bodies, the reason may not be quite as simple as that though the publicity over the various procedures high-profile personalities proudly announce may give that impression.

Dr. Manuel O. Fernandez, head of the Makati Medical Center’s Aesthetic Surgery Center (ASC), said for some people, what is referred to as cosmetic surgery may be important to their “psychological health.” Sometimes reshaping a nose may be all it takes to boost a person’s self-esteem and self-confidence. “Any improvement can help improve a person’s confidence,” Fernandez said. Knowing a procedure could seriously change a person’s life, Fernandez said the professionals at the ASC did not simply do what patients asked. People who insist they want a nose like Tom Cruise’s or Angelina Jolie’s will have to go elsewhere because, unless the ASC professionals feel that their faces will match such a proboscis, they cannot have it. Fernandez stressed the ASC would not simply give a patient what he/she wanted if it knew it would not be right or appropriate. There is, for instance, a limit to the extent breasts can be enlarged without causing serious medical problems like severe back pains. Believe it or not, large boobs are a heavy load to be lugging around everywhere. A French woman who used to hold die record for having the largest breasts reportedly could not sleep lying on her back because her boobs were putting a heavy pressure on her chest making it difficult for her to breathe. It is also for reasons other than vanity that ASC hopes women will consider the newest procedures it is offering, the Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation® (LVR®) and Laser Vaginoplasty.

Vaginal Repair LVR® is more than just a frivolous wish to turn back the clock, in a manner of speaking. The procedure was designed to repair the so-called “vaginal relaxation,” according to Dr. Annebelle D. Aherrera, obstetrician-gynecologist. An accredited associate of the Laser Vaginal Institute of America founded by Dr. David L. Matlock, who pioneered the two procedures, Aherrera said vaginal relaxation was when “muscles are no longer firm and have poor tone, strength and control.” Such a condition results in Dr. Annebelle Aherrera says the new procedures will help empower women more than just a change in physical appearance. It also results in discomfort and inconvenience that can seriously affect a woman’s self-esteem.” Women who suddenly burst into laughter, sneeze or cough may experience involuntary urine loss or spill. More often than not, women are embarrassed during these situations,” Aherrera said. The LVR® decreases the internal and external diameters of the vagina, almost returning it to its original state thus minimizing the problem. Aherrera said vaginal relaxation occurred because of childbirth and aging. But even women who are still young and have not given birth may have the problem. “Women who have inherited weakness of the supporting tissues, those who have experienced unusual strain from chronic coughing or have suffered obesity, may [suffer from] relaxed vaginal tissues,” the expert said. For normal women Aherrera said LVR® was suitable for women with normal sexual functioning. But, it is not “for patients with sexual dysfunction such as those who experience discomfort during sex or those who do not achieve orgasm,” she stressed.

Laser vaginoplasty is very much like rhinoplasty or the nose job except that it is performed on the opposite end of the body. Aherrera describes it as, “a group of aesthetic enhancement procedures of the vulvar structures.” She said, “Many women are embarrassed by the appearance of their external genitalia which are more often than not the result of childbirth, trauma, aging or hereditary characteristics.”

Designer Laser Vaginoplasty®, she added, repaired, enhanced and beautified the genitalia to make it more attractive and youthful looking. Fernandez stressed that while the aesthetic procedures offered by ASC might be available in “stand-alone beauty enhancement facilities, the center had the advantage of being hospital-based. He said some of the reported botched and fatal liposuction procedures in some “beauty clinics,” for instance, could have been averted simply by having the proper equipment for giving the patient oxygen. He added that “ASC only had certified surgeons performing the job.” Being a doctor does not mean you are a specialist,”Fernandez pointed out. One has to be certified by the right bodies before he/she can perform aesthetic surgery. Fernandez said many of the high-profile beauty experts did not do the actual surgery themselves because they did not have the proper credentials.

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