Vulvoplasty in NSW 2001-2013: A population-based record-linkage study

01 March 2018

Objectives: To compare characteristics of women who have vulvoplasty procedures with other women; quantify short-term adverse events and complications; and determine any association of vulvoplasty on future births. Design, setting and participants: A population-based record-linkage study was undertaken using the New South Wales (NSW) Admitted Patient Data Collection and NSW Perinatal Data Collection. All women who had vulvoplasties in hospital during 2001 - 2013 were identified, and their characteristics compared with all women of reproductive age (reference population). Main outcome measures: Admissions for vulvoplasty and repeat vulvoplasties; serious complications or adverse events following vulvoplasty procedures; birth mode and perineal outcomes for primiparous women with and without prior vulvoplasty. Results: There were 4,592 vulvoplasty procedures performed on 4,381 women, increasing by 64.5% over the study period. Compared to the reference population, women who had vulvoplasty were more likely to be Australian born (74.6% vs 67.6%); have other cosmetic surgery (10.1% vs 1.7%); and never been married (43.1% vs 33.1%). The serious adverse event/complication rate was 7.2%. Of those with a subsequent first birth, 40.0% had a caesarean section, compared with 30.3% of other women (p<0.001); while among vaginal births, perineal outcomes including tears and episiotomies were not significantly different (p=0.87; p=0.20). Conclusions: Since 2001, the number of vulvoplasties performed in NSW has increased dramatically, with no obvious biological reason for the rise. The procedure was not without serious complications necessitating hospital readmission in some instances. This study provides objective outcome information for counselling women who are contemplating vulvoplasty