Vaginoplasty 101

While it may sound drastic, more and more women are opting for plastic surgery down there (vaginoplasty). Known as vaginal rejuvenation, women are seeking the procedure in droves as a way to improve their sex lives and feel more confident in their own skin.

Childbirth, aging or a hereditary condition can cause women to seek these procedures. The results are long-lasting, and the side effects are generally minimal.

What is Vaginal Rejuvenation?

Vaginal Rejuvenation Questions

Vaginal rejuvenation refers to a series of different procedures that can be used to correct or enhance the vagina. The most common vaginal procedure is laser vaginal rejuvenation.

Areas that may be corrected or enhanced include:

  • Mons pubis reduction: Excess bulk of the mons can be removed to improve the contour.
  • Reduction of the inner lips of the vagina (labia minora): Known as labiaplasty, this procedure removes redundant tissue along the ruffled edge. This reduces the size and the protrusion of the labia minora.
  • Augmentation or reduction of the outer lips of the vagina (labia majora): Removes excess skin and tissue from the vulva’s outer lips.
  • Clitoral hood remodeling: Removes excess protrusive tissue that’s overlying the clitoris.
  • Vaginoplasty: Tightens the vagina.

Vaginoplasty brings separated muscles together and removes extra mucosa skin from the back of the vagina. The surgeon will first determine how much excess skin must be removed from the inside of the vagina. Once this has been removed, the tissues are tightened with sutures and the mucosal skin is sutured closed.

The results of the procedure are meant to be permanent, but future pregnancies and weight gain may alter the results.

The surgery may be performed at a freestanding ambulatory facility, a hospital or an office-based surgical site. Typically, vaginal rejuvenation takes one to two hours to complete, although the procedure can easily take longer.

Here’s what to expect the day of the surgery:

  • Medications are given prior to the surgery. A nerve block will be administered to numb the vaginal area and provide up to 24 hours of pain control.
  • General anesthesia is typically administered during the procedure.
  • You will be taken to a recovery area after the procedure to be closely monitored.

Complications are rare, but specific risks will be discussed during your consultation. It’s important to remember that all surgical procedures have inherent risks, which include:

  • Hematoma or seroma
  • Adverse reaction to anesthesia
  • Damage to underlying structures
  • Changes in sensation
  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Scarring

Prior to the surgery, you will go through an initial consultation appointment. During this meeting, you will have the opportunity to discuss your goals and the surgeon will evaluate you as a candidate for the procedure.

It’s important to come to this initial meeting prepared to discuss your medical history. Be prepared to discuss previous surgeries, allergies, current medications, and past and present conditions. Your surgeon will help you come up with a treatment plan that outlines your goals and the expected outcome of the procedure.

When Should You Consider Laser Vaginal Tightening Surgery?

You may consider laser vaginal tightening surgery if:

  • You experience soreness or pain during sex, riding a bicycle or horseback riding.
  • The contours of your vaginal structures have stretched or altered over time.
  • Sex isn’t as pleasurable as it used to be because of multiple childbirths.
  • You want a sleeker, trimmer contour to your vulva and labia.
  • You have stress urinary incontinence.
  • Scars from previous genital surgeries have left you uncomfortable.

Vaginal rejuvenation is designed to restore the vagina and surrounding muscles to the tightness you had in your pre-pregnancy youth. A trim, recontoured vagina may also give you that confidence boost you need to wear bikinis and yoga pants again.

If you’re in good general health, have a positive outlook and have realistic expectations, you may be a good candidate for laser vaginal tightening surgery.

Potential Cons of Vaginal Rejuvenation

Prior to having this procedure, it’s important to weigh the potential risks or downsides. Surgery is inherently risky, but there are other things that need to be considered.

Hemorrhage, bladder injury and infection may occur. You and your partner may also need some time to adjust to the new sensations from tightened vaginal walls. You may also need to do some experimenting to find positions that are pleasurable and comfortable for both you and your partner.

Vagina Plastic Surgery Statistics

  • More than 200 girls under the age of 18 had labiaplasty through the UK’s NHS in 2015-2016.
  • According to a 2014 survey, 91% of women who had labiaplasty felt more satisfied with their genital appearance after the procedure.
  • 8,745 women underwent vaginal rejuvenation in 2015.
  • The costs can range from $8,000 to $10,000.
  • The average recovery time for vaginal rejuvenation is 5-6 days.
  • The number of women getting labiaplasty increased by 39% between 2015 and 2016.
  • Vaginal rejuvenation is typically not covered by insurance.
  • It can take 4-6 months to realize the optimal results of surgery.
  • Patients are usually cleared to resume regular activities after 6 weeks.

Choosing a Surgeon

There are many decisions to make when undergoing vaginal rejuvenation, but the first and most important one is choosing your surgeon. It is crucial to consider the surgeon’s experience, education, training and certification. Additionally, it’s important to find a surgeon that you feel comfortable with, as you will be undergoing a very personal procedure.

The surgeon must be board-certified. If you plan to have the procedure performed at a surgical suite, the facility should be accredited by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities, Inc. (AAAASF).

What About Non-Surgical Vaginal Rejuvenation Options?

Laser and radiofrequency procedures are available for vaginal rejuvenation. Laser procedures are the most common. They typically offer a quicker recovery time, and the entire procedure takes less time than surgical procedures.

Non-surgical procedures are quickly becoming the standard, as most women would prefer to avoid undergoing the knife to “rejuvenate” their vaginas.

Women might consider vaginoplasty over natural alternatives if they are feeling pain during sex or have a significant decrease in sensation after multiple pregnancies. Natural alternatives may not be strong enough to produce your desired results.

While vaginoplasty rarely has complications, they are still possible and must be considered prior to committing to surgery.