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"

Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Arts and Entertainment
Game Of Thrones
Uh-oh, winter is coming. Ouch, my eyes! Ygritte’s a goner. Lysa’s a goner. Tywin’s a goner. Look, a dragon
tvSpoiler warning:The British actor says viewers have 'not seen the last' of his character
The Etihad Stadium, home of Manchester City
premier league

The Independent's live blog of today's Premier League action

Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Radamel Falcao was forced to withdraw from the World Cup after undergoing surgery
premier leagueExclusive: Reds have agreement with Monaco
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

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

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    KS1 Primary Teacher

    £100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Supply Teacher re...

    KS2 Teaching Supply Wakefield

    £140 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Supply Teacher r...

    Year 1/2 Teacher

    £130 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required,...

    Primary Teachers Needed for Supply in Wakefield

    £140 - £160 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1&2 Supply Te...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam