Childbirth and aging can cause a woman’s vagina to sag and lose its youthful appearance, and at times, its functionality. Many women complain that after childbirth their vaginas feel loose or are no longer beautiful. As the main sexual organ of the female body, when the vagina no longer looks or feels aesthetically pleasing, this can have an impact on a woman’s emotional well-being and sexual function. Surgical procedures that can correct or improve the function and appearance of the vagina can help restore a woman’s confidence and physical well-being.
What Is a Vaginal Surgical Procedure?
When considering vaginal plastic surgery, there are four major procedures to consider: a vaginoplasty, a labiaplasty, a clitoral hood reduction, or a labia majoraplasty. All of these procedures may be part of what the American Society of Plastic Surgeons refers to as “vaginal rejuvenation”.
A woman may opt to have several of these procedures or just have a single procedure done. Vaginal rejuvenation is for women post-childbirth or for women looking to improve the appearance and function of her vagina. The most popular procedures for women post-childbirth are a labiaplasty and a vaginoplasty.
The most common vaginal procedure is the labiaplasty. This can be a cosmetic or functional procedure. When it is cosmetic, it is typically done to change the appearance of the vagina by trimming the labial minora so they appear smaller in size, or to correct an asymmetry in the size of the labia. When done for functional reasons, it is to correct pulling and twisting that results when the labia minora are too large and hang down below the labia majora.
During a labiaplasty, a surgeon will cut away a small amount of the labia minora tissue, either from the edge of the labia or from the middle of the labia. The skin is then sutured together and allowed to heal. Complications for this procedure are similar to other surgical procedures and can include bleeding, infection, or adverse response to anesthesia. The recovery time for this procedure is typically a week long and you can return to sexual activity within 4 to 6 weeks.
A vaginoplasty is a functional or reconstructive procedure that addresses the loosening of the muscles and tissues of the vaginal wall that can happen with childbirth. There is a laser procedure that can be done for those with less severe loosening of the vaginal wall. A surgical procedure can be done for those with more severe loosening.
A laser vaginal tightening procedure is typically done on an outpatient basis and involves the use of lasers to make small incisions in the vaginal wall, encouraging production of collagen in order to tighten the tissue as it heals. The procedure usually takes less than an hour and is performed in a series of three procedures across a year, with one follow-up treatment a year later. Risks for this procedure are very small and recovery time is typically less than a week. Many women report having good results from this less invasive procedure. However, if you are experiencing more severe laxity of the vagina, this procedure may not be as beneficial for you.
If laser vaginal tightening is not an option for you, you might be a candidate for a surgical vaginoplasty. During a surgical vaginoplasty, a surgeon will suture together muscle or tissue that has separated and will remove any excess skin that has resulted from the vaginal walls being overly stretched. This procedure has the overall effect of tightening the vaginal canal and restoring some of the original structure. Risks of having a vaginoplasty done are similar to those of any surgical procedure and may include bleeding, infection, and complications that may arise from using anesthesia. You should expect to spend about 2 weeks recovering from the procedure and you should wait 8 weeks before returning to sexual activity. Many women, of all ages, have reported a high level of satisfaction with having this procedure done.
Clitoral Hood Reduction and Labia Majoraplasty
Two other vaginal procedures women may consider are a clitoral hood reduction and a labia majoraplasty. Both of these procedures are considered cosmetic procedures and are intended to make the appearance of the vagina more aesthetic. A clitoral hood reduction is usually performed at the same time as a labiaplasty in order to ensure the vagina looks balanced after having tissue from the labia minora removed. A labia majoraplasty is usually performed to address labia majora that appear too large or hang down too far.
A clitoral hood reduction involves the removal of excess tissue from around the clitoris and then closing the area up with dissolvable stitches. Since this procedure is usually done in conjunction with a labiaplasty, the recovery time is typically the same as that for a labiaplasty – 1 week, with a return to sexual activity within 4-6 weeks. Risks of this procedure are the same as with the labiaplasty.
Reduction of the labia majora involves the surgeon determining how much skin and tissue to remove in order to achieve the desired appearance, and then removing the tissue from the inner edge of the labia. The skin is then sutured closed with dissolvable sutures. Risks involve the possibility of infection, bleeding, scarring, an over-resection or under-resection, and adverse response to anesthesia. The recovery time for this procedure is approximately 1 week and you can resume sexual activity within 4 to 6 weeks.
Providing Women Fantastic Care
There are many reasons to consider a vaginal surgical procedure. Whatever your reason, the doctors in our New York and Chicago offices are ready to help you make the best decision for your needs. Our award-winning doctors specialize in helping women restore their confidence in and love of their bodies. Visit Doctors Plastic Surgery website to set up a consultation with one of our doctors.