The Courier-Mail

Study tries for private responses

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WHAT should a woman look like down below? It’s a question researcher­s are trying to answer following a 140 per cent increase in Medicare claims for female genital surgery in a decade.

They are asking 1000 men and women about their attitudes, and what they think is normal, as concerns build that taxpayers may be paying for designer vaginas.

A recent Flinders University survey found almost one in five women were interested in a labiaplast­y, with doctors asked to perform the surgery on girls as young as 13.

Internet porn, which is governed by laws that require Photoshopp­ing of images, have been blamed for misconcept­ions about what is normal.

The number of Medicare claims for female genital surgery grew by 140 per cent from 640 cases in 2000, to 1565 claims in 2011. Cosmetic surgery is not covered by Medicare, and some of these cases would be repairs after injury, accidents or sex changes.

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