Often referred to as Vaginoplasty, this is a reconstructive operation and rebuilds the pelvic floor in cases where women have experienced severe stretching of the vaginal tissue and muscles, as well as the perineal body at the entrance of the vagina, strengthening the muscles and reducing vaginal laxity.
Vaginal stretching can occur as a result of the natural process of ageing, or after childbirth where the vagina does not recover its appearance of its pre-pregnancy state. The levator group of muscles, situated on either side of your pelvis, are often stretched when your baby’s head ‘crowns’ at the base of the vagina. Some women have a condition called benign hypermobility syndrome, which can result in the vaginal tissues becoming severely over stretched. Typical complaints include a lack of satisfaction with the appearance of the vagina and in some cases, decreased sensitivity in the area.
Vaginal tightening surgery can be combined with labial surgery and can be performed as a day case surgery.
Although many women are too embarrassed to raise the issue with a surgeon, the good news is that an effective, straightforward solution exists to correct this condition and can be treated discreetly.
1) What is a Vaginoplasty?
Vaginoplasty is a surgical procedure which tightens the vaginal muscles, perineum and surrounding tissue providing more tone, strength and control to your vaginal muscles, enhancing your sensitivity and sexual experience. Typically during childbirth the muscles of the vagina loosen and stretch during natural delivery but the issue arises when these muscles stay weak and loose afterwards which can cause stress incontinence and sexual dysfunction. Vaginoplasty can be performed on its own but also as part of a total vaginal rejuvenation treatment plan.
2) Am i a suitable candidate for Vaginoplasty surgery?
It is incredibly common for a woman to have concerns about this area as often women may find that their vaginal muscles lose tone as part of the ageing process, or after childbirth for example – this can cause much embarrassment, discomfort, the loss of sensitivity or friction experienced during sexual intercourse can also affect sexual satisfaction and cause frustration for both yourself and your partner.
3) What happens during the Vaginoplasty procedure?
Once put to sleep usually under a general anaesthetic (In some cases a local anaesthetic and sedation can be used if appropriate) your surgeon will begin your surgery. A vaginoplasty operation typically takes about 1 – 2 hours, and is treated as a day case, meaning that you are discharged to go home a few hours after your surgery is completed.
The surgery is designed to tighten the vagina and is done by joining together the stretched muscle at the back of the vagina and therefore shortening it, using dissolvable stitches, and then removing excess vaginal lining and tightening the surrounding soft tissues. The resulting decrease in the size of the vaginal cavity creates more friction during sexual intercourse, often described as giving a woman back the vagina she had before children. When the muscles and ligaments in the vagina are tightened, they can then support the other internal structures including the bladder, bowel and womb (uterus).
4) How should i prepare for the Vaginoplasty surgery?
During your consultation your surgeon will advise you to stop smoking, drinking and/or taking aspirin or certain other medications prior to your surgery as this can affect or slow down the healing process. Your surgeon will discuss this with you at length and guide you as to when would be suggested to resume taking these.
5) What risks are associated with Vaginoplasty surgery?
Any risks associated with a vaginoplasty procedure are similar to that of any other surgical procedure that involves a general or local anaesthetic depending on which is decided the most suitable. Apart from possible bleeding and infection which is not common, there are no specific risks to be concerned about but your surgeon will explain the vaginoplasty procedure to you in detail at your consultation.
6) How long does it take to recover after a Vaginoplasty and when will i see results?
Generally there will be swelling, soreness and some bruising after surgery which should subside in a week or two. After a couple of days you should be able to walk around comfortably. Your final result may be a couple of months following surgery, but you are usually able to resume sexual activity within 4-6 weeks.
7) Is Vaginoplasty painful? what downtime can i expect?
Most of our patients opt to undergo this procedure under general anaesthetic so you will feel no pain. After your surgery, any pain or discomfort you may experience will be controlled effectively with medication provided by your surgeon and will usually subside within a few days.
You may experience some mild discomfort and swelling but this will usually disappear completely in one or two weeks. Any stitches will dissolve so there is no need for their removal although you will attend a 1 week post operative wound care appointment with a specialist nurse. Many of our patients return to work after one week but you will be advised that you may require two weeks. You must refrain from exercise and sexual intercourse until fully healed (around 6 weeks).