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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 January 2007, 00:02 GMT
'I didn't want men doing my surgery'
By Jane Elliott
Health reporter, BBC News

An operating theatre. Photo Credit: Mauro Fermariello/SPL
Women are given the option of all-female team
When Sarah wanted an intimate operation carried out, she decided she wanted a woman to do the surgery.

She felt only a woman could understand what she was going through.

And she felt that if she had not found a female plastic surgeon to carry out the vulvoplasty - cosmetic work on her vulva - she would have not been able to go through with it.

"I wanted to have the operation. It really was something personal for me.

Choice

"I chose to have a female surgeon because the operation was going to be on such an intimate place and I feel women can understand that much better than men.

"When I first started looking into having the operation I went to see a couple of male doctors, but I did not go back to see them because I did not feel comfortable."

We find female patients prefer to deal with an all female team if they are having an intimate procedure done
Dalia Nield

Now women like 35-year-old Sarah are being offered not only the chance to have a female surgeon, but to have an entirely female theatre team.

Sarah said that if this option had been available when she had her operation it would have made her feel even more comfortable about undergoing her sensitive procedure.

"I think this is a step forward," she said.

Mrs Dalia Nield, the plastic surgeon, based at the London Clinic, in Harley Street, who is leading the team, said it will mean many women unable for cultural or religious reasons to have surgery previously can consider the private surgery now.

"For me it doesn't matter what sex you are, it's just if you are good at your job or not. But the patient sees it differently."

"We decided to launch this service as sometimes we find female patients prefer to deal with an all female team if they are having an intimate procedure done, such as labiaplasty or breast work.

"Women will naturally feel more comfortable and at ease with other women.

It should be quite easy to have an all female team in the operating department

"It can also be a requirement for certain religious beliefs and cultures so this service will appeal directly to them."

Mrs Nield, a member of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), said she had not noticed men expressing a need for all-male teams.

"Men don't seem to mind," she said.

Help

She added that although the service is not used routinely, having it as an option does offer women who would not normally consider surgery another chance.

"People suffer in silence so it is nice to offer them a helping hand," she said.

Douglas McGeorge, consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS president said: "Aesthetic surgery is a unique branch of surgery which is in much demand, especially from women.

"If patients prefer to have a female surgeon, they can find reputable practitioners via the BAAPS membership."

He said there was a growing interest in the latest in cosmetic treatments, and it was only natural that, as a multi-cultural society, our surgeons perform procedures on people with varied requirements.

"With increased awareness about cultural and religious concerns as well as new procedures that cater to the inherent differences in ethnicities, people of all backgrounds can now consider aesthetic plastic surgery, without necessarily having to compromise their beliefs or heritage."

A Patient Association spokesman said :"One has to respect cultural and religious views.

"I believe this can be very much part of patient choice and it's what patients say they want."

He added: "It should be quite easy to have an all female team in the operating department.

"If private practices are willing to offer this, it is not dislocating other private patients and the clinics have the same standards and patients' safety is not compromised then it meets the need of the patient."


SEE ALSO
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24 Oct 06 |  Health
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23 Sep 05 |  Health

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