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Psychological characteristics and motivation of women seeking labiaplasty

  • D. Veale (a1), E. Eshkevari (a1), N. Ellison (a1), A. Costa (a1), D. Robinson (a2), A. Kavouni (a3) and L. Cardozo (a2)...

Labiaplasty is an increasingly popular surgical intervention but little is known about the characteristics and motivation of women who seek the procedure or the psychosexual outcome.


A total of 55 women seeking labiaplasty were compared with 70 women who did not desire labiaplasty. Various general measures of psychopathology as well as specific measures (Genital Appearance Satisfaction; Cosmetic Procedure Screening for labiaplasty) were used. Labia measurements of the women seeking labiaplasty were also obtained.


Women seeking labiaplasty did not differ from controls on measures of depression or anxiety. They did, however, express increased dissatisfaction towards the appearance of their genitalia, with lower overall sexual satisfaction and a poorer quality of life in terms of body image. Women seeking labiaplasty reported a significantly greater frequency of avoidance behaviours on all the domains assessed, and greater frequency of safety-seeking behaviours for most of the domains. Key motivations reported for labiaplasty were categorized as cosmetic, functional or sexual. Of the 55 women seeking labiaplasty, 10 met diagnostic criteria for body dysmorphic disorder.


This is the first controlled study to describe some of the characteristics and motivations of women seeking labiaplasty. We identified a wide range of avoidance and safety-seeking behaviours, which occurred more frequently in the labiaplasty group than the control group. These could be used clinically as part of a psychological intervention for women seeking labiaplasty.

Corresponding author
* Address for correspondence: D. Veale, Centre for Anxiety Disorders and Trauma, The Maudsley Hospital, 99 Denmark Hill, London SE5 8AZ, UK. (Email:
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Psychological Medicine
  • ISSN: 0033-2917
  • EISSN: 1469-8978
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