Physical symptoms, if any, need to be discussed with the patient. Identify whether these symptoms are related to the dimensions of her anatomy or due to other factors, such as recurrent infections, tight or poorly-fitted clothing, and skin irritations that are a result of chemical irritants or over-washing.
The medical conditions that constitute reasonable cause for the surgery to be performed have been changed as of November 2014, following the Australian Attorney–General’s investigation into reasons why labiaplasty and other forms of FGCS were being performed and claimed under Medicare. Currently, Medicare item 35533 is intended for the surgical repair of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and major congenital anomalies of the uro-gynaecological tract not covered by existing item numbers. It is valid only for inpatient services and will not be paid for outpatient procedures.
A new Medicare item number, 35534, is for ‘localised gigantism which causes significant functional impairment and where non-surgical treatments have failed’. This item number now requires a specific application to the Department of Human Services, which will then be reviewed by the Medicare Claims Review Panel, to determine if there is enough evidence to qualify for the item number. Medicare benefits can no longer be claimed for non-therapeutic cosmetic genital surgery.
In summary, the clinically relevant indications for vulvoplasty include non-inflammatory disorders of the vulva and perineum, congenital disorders and to repair or reconstruct normal female anatomy following trauma, harmful traditional practices or pathologic processes4 (refer to Appendix 4 and Appendix 5.3 for more information).