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Virgin Surgeon

[whitespace] The cosmetically inclined lust after designer genitalia. As always, L.A. plastic surgeons are happy to help.

By Michael Learmonth

OUR NEIGHBORS TO the south have always pushed the bleeding edge of aesthetics. Along the shady streets of West Los Angeles, the homes resemble Disney creations with exotic plants, blooming flowers and irrigated patches of perfect green splendor. In tony Brentwood, situated between Hollywood and Santa Monica, the cafes and flower shops bustle with men who get facials and an incredible number of women who have achieved, through genetic fortune, years on the Stairmaster or a nip and tuck here and there, the mythic shape of Aphrodite.

I mean, who really wears tights and a tartish boob tube or a black lace negligee to Ralph's at 10 in the morning? People in L.A. do.

The flip side to all this glamour can be found in the pages of the LA Weekly, always bloated with ads promoting the practices of Doctors Lipo, Rhino and Plasty of Beverly Hills. This time, however, I was shocked to find where the good citizens of L.A. are pointing the laser now.

"Ladies! You Won't Believe How Good Sex Can Be!" screams the service-marked slogan for the practice of one Dr. David L. Matlock of Beverly Hills. The doctor performs "vaginoplasty" with a laser to enhance the female organ's appearance and even to restore virginity. His book, What the Gynecologist Didn't Tell You, comes out in the spring. His Web site gives gory details.

It seems like the logical next step of the Los Angeles aesthetic ethos: Don't like the way that looks? Change it. And don't stop just because it's a place where the sun don't shine.

A receptionist at Dr. Matlock's office says he has been performing vaginoplasty for 10 years, eight with a scalpel until he pioneered the laser technique two years ago. More than 1,000 women, including some celebrities, have gone under Dr. Matlock's laser.

Matlock will be giving a course in Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation in January in Beverly Hills.

Apparently, the doctor hasn't yet given any seminars in the Bay Area. Katherine Brubaker is a gynecologist and obstetrician at Kaiser Hospital and a member of the Shufelt Society, a local organization of gynecologists that meets to discuss innovations in the field.

"No one has heard of it," Brubaker says of Matlock's techniques. "I spoke to a gynecological oncologist and a pelvic reconstructive surgeon, and no one's heard of it. It is not a procedure written up in the gynecological literature."

The doctor classifies his procedures into three types: Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation and Sexual Gratification, Vaginal Relaxation and Functional GYN Problems, and Designer Vaginoplasty, for those who've decided just any ordinary vagina won't do. The procedures start at around $4,000.

Laser rejuvenation is an outpatient procedure that the doctor says combats the dreaded vaginal relaxation. "In the vaginal relaxation process, the vaginal muscles become flaccid with poor tone, strength and support," the doctor writes.

Replacing hours of Kagel exercises, the one-hour procedure tightens the vagina "for the enhancement of sexual gratification."

Despite the doctor's claim that the surgery "will make you FEEL good," he does litter his Web site with medical and social rationales.

"The fact is, if this were a male problem it would have been addressed, researched and solved a long time ago," the doctor writes. "There has been millions of dollars spent on research, development and marketing of numerous medications for male virulence (to promote, enhance and sustain erection) and numerous medical devices for the correction of impotence."

As yet, no female equivalent of the penis pump, I guess.

Despite the very real pelvic problems Dr. Matlock treats, he says "Designer Laser Vaginoplasty" is performed strictly upon the request of the woman.

The doctor can "improve" the aesthetics of the vagina, giving it a more "youthful," voluptuous appearance by transferring fat via liposuction from the inner thighs to the labia majora. The doctor can also perform labialplasty to shorten or even out the labia.

Finally, the doctor addresses a problem the world has been waiting for medical science to conquer:

"In some ethnic cultures when a woman marries and consummates the marriage she must bleed to prove virginity to her partner," Matlock writes. "Quite frankly, in this day and age with routine physical activities (exercise programs, organized sport, etc.), the hymen is rarely intact. Nevertheless women do request hymen repair. It is a very simple procedure performed under local anesthesia."

"Organized sport"--right.

While I don't imagine there are too many weddings in L.A. anymore where goats and camels are transacted, if virginity is reattainable, no doubt there are people who will want it back.

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From the December 24-30, 1998 issue of Metro.

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