Nip & Tuck: Meet Britain's only all-female cosmetic surgery team

Ever more women are going in for 'cosmetic gynaecology' - and they'd rather not have it done by a man

When it comes to understanding what women want, they are the perfect operators. Challenging the traditionally male-dominated bastion of cosmetic medicine is the UK's first all-female plastic surgery team.

The group - assembled by the award-winning Harley Street consultant Dalia Nield - has been set up to provide for a booming industry, where 89 per cent of all procedures are performed on women, yet fewer than 10 per cent of surgeons are female. In terms of intimate, gender-specific operations such as breast augmentation or vulvoplasty, this inequality has emerged as a serious concern for growing numbers of British women considering cosmetic surgery.

"A few years ago, I started to realise that something should be done, because the situation in the industry just wasn't right," said Mrs Nield, who has worked in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery for more than two decades.

"With intimate operations like vulvoplasties, a lot of women can be very embarrassed to be seen by male consultants. I just thought they would feel more comfortable with an all-female team."

Mrs Nield, who is based at the London Clinic in Harley Street, now offers a broad spectrum of cosmetic procedures - from augmentation of the breasts to augmentation of the labia majora - all conducted by women. From first consultation to post-operative recovery, the work is completed by professional women handpicked by Mrs Nield - from the anaesthetists to the runners.

"For me it doesn't matter what sex you are, just if you are good at your job or not," said Mrs Nield. "But the patient sees it differently. I noticed a lot of people were coming to me for breast work primarily because I was a female surgeon. To a certain extent, they believed I could better understand how they were feeling because I am a woman."

Mrs Nield normally operates in a team of seven, with one anaesthetist, an ODA (anaesthetic assistant), a senior registrar, surgical and non-surgical nurses, and herself as the surgeon. One of the three regular female anaesthetists on her books is Dr Catherine Greville, who is full of praise for Mrs Nield's initiative.

"What we're about here is providing good patient care," said Dr Greville. "Surgery is always an ordeal and cosmetic surgery in particular is often very sensitive, involving extremely delicate parts of the body. If what the patient needs to get through that ordeal is an all-girl team for whatever reason, then we're well placed to provide it. A good surgical team will look after the psychological aspect of any operation as well as the physical."

According to Dr Greville, a number of the team's bookings have been from ethnic minorities, particularly those with specific non-male requirements due to religious beliefs. Among the most popular procedures are abdominal liposculpture and either the augmentation or reduction and resculpting of the labia, generally referred to as vulvoplasty.

In the US, vulvar and vaginal nips and tucks - or "cosmetic gynaecology" - now represent the fastest-growing segment of plastic surgery, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. The techniques have been practised for more than half a century to repair childbirth-related injuries, but in the late 1990s, a handful of West Coast surgeons began promoting the procedures to improve both sexual function and appearance.

In this country, the thriving cosmetic surgery industry is now worth an estimated £539m. According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), women had 19,601 surgical procedures in the UK last year, up from 15,019 in 2004. The top procedure was breast augmentation, with 5,646 carried out - a 51 per cent rise on the previous year.

Experts predict that the market will continue its seemingly unstoppable growth, with analysts Mintel estimating that by 2009, the industry in this country will be worth almost £1bn.

One of Mrs Nield's satisfied customers is Sarah, a 35-year-old office worker from London, who recently underwent a vulvoplasty.

"It's horrible enough having an operation done, but when it's such an intimate part of the body it's a bit intimidating and intrusive having it done by a man," said Sarah, who paid £3,500 for the operation.

"To begin with, I saw two consultants, who were both male, and I just felt that they didn't understand how I felt about myself. I walked out of there feeling uncomfortable and almost invaded. I've got to admit that if I hadn't found Dalia, I don't think I would have had the procedure done."

Breast augmentation

Cost: £3,000-£6,000. Duration: one and a half hours.

Female procedures in 2005: 5,646

"They want to look normal, not like Dolly Parton"

Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)

Cost: £6,000-£7,000. Duration: two hours.

Female procedures in 2005: 1,832

"Many have stomachs damaged by pregnancy"

Major liposuction (more than 500ml)

Cost: £5,000-£10,000. Duration of procedure: two hours. Female procedures in 2005: 1,216

"The biggest growing area, especially in Europe"

Rhinoplasty (nose surgery)

Cost: £5,000-£6,000. Duration: one hour.

Female procedures in 2005: 1,533

"Women just want to look like everyone else"

News
The cartoon depicts the UK (far left) walking around a Syrian child refugee
newsIn an exclusive artwork for The Independent, Ali Ferzat attacks Britain's lack of 'humanity'
Life and Style
Man taking selfie in front of car
health
Sport
footballManager attacks Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp after criticism of Diego Costa's apparent stamping
Life and Style
food + drink
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Frozen out: despite being filmed in Iceland, 'Fortitude' is set further north, in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard
tvGerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Life and Style
Carmen Khu from The Royal China Club pours a cup of Dai-Hong-Po tea
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Manager - OTE £40,000

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This web-based lead generation ...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

    £125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

    £32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

    Day In a Page

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore