Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery: An Overview
Vaginal rejuvenation surgery is a female genital procedure performed by a plastic surgeon or a gynecologic surgeon to alter the external and/or internal vaginal anatomy. Many women feel their vagina is too wide due to aging or childbirth, and a vaginal rejuvenation procedure may enhance their sexual satisfaction or the appearance of their vagina.
The surgery can fall into two categories: reconstructive or cosmetic. Reconstructive vaginal rejuvenation surgery is meant to improve vaginal function in some way, usually with regard to sexual function. Cosmetic vaginal rejuvenation surgery is done for aesthetic purposes to change the look of the vagina.
Kinds of vaginal rejuvenation surgery
Several different procedures fall under the category of vaginal rejuvenation surgery:
Labiaplasty, the most common of the vaginal rejuvenation surgeries, is a procedure that shortens the labia minora, which are the smaller vaginal lips that begin at the clitoris. If women feel a painful or uncomfortable twisting or tugging on their labia during sexual intercourse or other activities, like riding a bike, this surgery can help relieve those symptoms. It can also relieve symptoms such as irritation or itching. Some women elect labiaplasty because they simply don’t like the size or appearance of their labia.
Clitoral hood reduction reduces excess folds on the clitoral hood and often accompanies labiaplasty rather than being a standalone procedure. If a woman is already reducing the labia minora, the clitoral hood then can sometimes have an unwanted bulge. This surgery can even out vaginal appearance in that case.
Labia majoraplasty is a vaginal rejuvenation surgery that decreases the size of the labia majora, which are the larger, hair-bearing outside lips of the vagina. This procedure is most common for women who are experiencing pain or discomfort during different activities, sexual or otherwise, because of the size of their labia majora. Some women opt for the procedure because they feel their labia majora are too large or saggy.
Monsplasty can help decrease the size of the mons pubis bulge. The mons pubis is fat tissue on the upper part of the vulva directly in front of the pubic bones. This surgery is more likely to be selected for aesthetic rather than medical reasons.
Vaginoplasty is intended to tighten the vagina, which naturally becomes slack with age and often after childbirth. However, if the vagina becomes too loose, it can cause sexual dysfunction or lead to trouble holding a tampon. To tighten the stretched tissues and muscles of their vagina, women may opt for a vaginoplasty. The procedure involves moving the separated muscles closer together; the extra skin at the far end of the vagina is also removed. Sometimes, the surgeon will remove the external skin, too, for cosmetic reasons.
One less-invasive alternative to vaginoplasty is nonsurgical vaginal rejuvenation involving lasers or radio-frequency waves. Another is a procedure that involves the injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) into the upper vagina.
Benefits & risks of rejuvenation surgery
The benefits of vaginal rejuvenation surgery include increased sexual satisfaction and improved self-esteem. Since decreased sexual satisfaction often begins with self-esteem issues, these benefits are usually intertwined. The benefits of an improved sex life can also extend outside of intimate relationships, leaving people in a better mood and improving their overall quality of life.
Risks include scarring, hemorrhage, constipation, infection and lubrication deficiency. Therefore, patients must trust that their plastic or gynecologic surgeon of choice knows what they are doing. Luckily, there are many respected, talented surgeons who can perform the surgery safely and effectively.
Many patients have reported high levels of satisfaction after vaginal rejuvenation surgery, contributing to its increasing popularity. However, since any surgery is a serious decision, women should discuss all options with their gynecologist before seeking out vaginal rejuvenation.