Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery
Unlike men, whose genitals are exterior to their body, women have more private, internal sex organs. Many women have a limited knowledge of vulval anatomy and are unable to know or express what a normal vagina should look like. As a result, many women feel insecure about the appearance or tightness of their vagina and vulva. Have you ever compared your vagina to idealized versions of the vagina represented in popular culture and thought, “perhaps my labial wings are too long. Is my clitoral hood too large?” Have you ever wondered if your vaginal canal has been stretched or loosened by childbirth? If you identify with these sentiments, you are a typical vaginal rejuvenation surgery patient.
Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery
Vaginal rejuvenation surgery* combines vaginoplasty (“tightening” your vagina), and labiaplasty (trimming your labia) and is performed by a plastic surgeon after you are diagnosed with a disorder or genital abnormality, or by a cosmetic surgeon after your gynecologist deems your vagina to be normal and functioning as it should sexually. Depending on which one you are getting, your vaginal rejuvenation surgery may include a designer vaginoplasty, a labiaplasty, or both. These and other procedures, including revirginization and G-spot amplification, have been criticized by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for not being “medically indicated,” meaning that the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has not documented the safety and effectiveness of these procedures. It is a plastic or cosmetic surgeon’s job to help you sculpt your body into how you want or need it to look and function. However, plastic and cosmetic surgery are not without their risks, and ultimately it is up to you to weigh the costs, benefits, and risks of vaginal rejuvenation surgery.
Recovering from vaginal rejuvenation surgery takes six to eight weeks. During this time, you should not have sex or take baths under any circumstances.
Risks and Complications
- Altered Sensation
- Adhesions: Membraneous surfaces combine abnormally due to infection or injury
- Holes: Danger of a hole being accidentally created between your vagina and rectum
- Dyspareunia: Painful contractions in your vagina
- Popped Stitches
Like any muscle, your pelvic muscle needs regular exercise to remain tight. Your pelvic muscle can loosen because of congenital defects, disease, and, of course, the inevitable aging of all the muscles in your body. Kegel exercises, orgasms, yoga, pilates, pelvic toning devices, electrostimulation, biofeedback devices, and vaginal weights are all methods of vaginal tightening. If your vaginal canal has been diagnosed with a valid illness by a physician, your surgical option for vaginal tightening would be a reconstructive plastic surgery known as vaginoplasty.
If you are affected by any of the following you are likely in need of a vaginoplasty:
- Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia: A group of genetic conditions that limits the hormone production in your adrenal glands.
- Micropenis/Giant Clitoris
- Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser Syndrome
- Vaginectomy: Cancer surgery of the vagina
- Vaginal Agenesis: When your vaginal canal is absent from your body.
However, if you do not have a medical illness and your desire for a reduction in the size of the entrance of your vagina is self-image based, the cosmetic version of a vaginoplasty, also known as vaginal rejuvenation surgery, is for you! If you want to undergo vaginal rejuvenation surgery, you are more likely also to want what is known as a labiaplasty.
Typically performed alongside a vaginal rejuvenation surgery. Also known as a labia minora reduction, a labiaplasty is both a plastic surgery procedure and a cosmetic surgery procedure, depending on the reasons for your surgery. Reasons for undergoing a labiaplasty range from the creation of a neovagina for male-to-female sexual reassignment surgery to promising remedies for incontinence to relieving chronic labial discomfort and friction caused by clothing rubbing and pulling during aerobic exercise.
Plastic Surgery Labiaplasty
Some people are born with congenital conditions that cause genital ambiguity; in other words, their genitals do not fit typical binary notions of male and female bodies. One example of this subset of conditions is intersex, a group of people previously referred to by the stigmatizing term “hermaphrodite.” However, there is a growing medical consensus that diverse intersex bodies are normal and rare forms of human biology. Other conditions addressed by labiaplasty are:
- Vaginal Atresia: When your body is absent of a vaginal passage.
- Mullerian Agenesis: This occurs when the uterus and fallopian tubes are malformed.
- Tearing and Stretching of Labia Minora: Due to either childbirth, aging, or accidents, the labia may become torn or stretched.
- Male to Female Sexual Reassignment: In this case, during your sexual reassignment vaginoplasty, your surgeon will create a neovagina for you, and performs a labiaplasty to install labia where once there were none.
Cosmetic Surgery Labiaplasty
If you are without any genital defects and still want to alter your labia, then the cosmetic procedure version of labiaplasty is right for you.
Controversy Surrounding Vaginal Rejuvenation Cosmetic Surgeries
Although the number of women having vaginal rejuvenation surgery has increased fivefold over the past decade, Despite the fact that vaginal-altering cosmetic surgeries have been around for decades, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery has been criticized for providing a lack of evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of the procedures. The evidence of the safety of these procedures is limited to anecdotal evidence provided by patients interviewed by their surgeon. Their studies show low rates of reported complications, which may be termed as misleading because many women who suffer debilitating complications after vaginal rejuvenation surgery don’t return to the surgeon that operated on them; instead of seeking out other providers with expertise in reconstructive surgery. According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (who has deemed cosmetic vaginal rejuvenation surgery as not safe or necessary), no adequate studies have been published assessing the long-term safety, satisfaction, and complication rates for vaginal rejuvenation surgery. They recommend that your concern, self-loathing, or embarrassment regarding the appearance of your vagina may be alleviated by a candid discussion of the wide range of normal genitalia. If you are considering vaginal rejuvenation surgery they recommend you address it by getting evaluated for a sexual dysfunction by your gynecologist and consider exploring non-surgical options, including counseling.
*July 30, 2018 – The FDA warns against device manufacturers marketing energy-based medical devices for cosmetic vaginal procedures, or so-called vaginal “rejuvenation.” The term is used to describe non-surgical procedures intended to treat vaginal laxity, atrophy, dryness, or itching; reduced sexual sensation; and pain with sex or urination. “The safety and effectiveness of energy-based medical devices to perform these procedures has not been established,” the agency stated. “Understand that the FDA has not cleared or approved any energy-based medical device for vaginal ‘rejuvenation’ or vaginal cosmetic procedures, or for the treatment of vaginal symptoms related to menopause, urinary incontinence, or sexual function.”
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