Raj K. Syal, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.    |    Jenna A. Everson, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.    |    Holly Westmoreland, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.   
    • 05 APR 16
    When Should You Consider Vaginal Rejuvenation?

    When Should You Consider Vaginal Rejuvenation?

    Vaginal rejuvenation is often thought of as simply an aesthetic procedure. While some women may elect to undergo vaginal rejuvenation for aesthetic purposes alone, this procedure is primarily performed for functional reasons, including the tightening of the muscles that make up the overall structure of the vagina. This, in turn, enhances muscle tone, control, and vaginal strength.

    Vaginal rejuvenation, also known as vaginoplasty or vaginal tightening, is a relatively minimally invasive procedure that treats vaginal relaxation, a very common condition often associated with aging and childbirth. The vaginal rejuvenation procedure itself typically takes anywhere from one to two hours, and is sometimes performed with a laser.

    For those who may be weighing the benefits and risks of this type of surgery, it is helpful to have a primary goal, or a general understanding of their desires, and an understanding of the results of vaginal rejuvenation. The overwhelming majority of women elect to move forward with vaginal tightening in an effort to enhance their sexual gratification. While this is sometimes an uncomfortable topic to discuss, many women find that they are unable to achieve orgasm in the same manner they once enjoyed. This is remedied by surgically—and ever so slightly–reducing the external diameter of the vagina, while tightening the patient’s internal muscles to her specifications. After proper healing, this increases the friction a woman experiences during intercourse. A smaller portion of women who have vaginal rejuvenation, go under the knife for bladder control. These women often have scar tissue surrounding the vaginal canal, or may even have issues with tampons falling out.

    There are various technologies and procedures for vaginal rejuvenation. Gynecologists may choose to use an Ellman radiofrequency device, a laser, electric knife, scalpel, or plastic surgery scissors to accomplish the goal of tightening. Rest assured your doctor will consult with you to determine the instrument best suited for your particular surgery and desired results. This is all discussed early on in the consultation process, and your doctor will be able to fully explain the potential assets and drawbacks of each device. It is also important to keep in mind that there are no clinical differences in healing time, bleeding, and complication rates among these differing techniques and tools. Additionally, vaginal rejuvenation is always performed utilizing general anesthesia provided by a licensed, board certified anesthesiologist.

    There is also another relatively new technology called electrical stimulation that is often combined with vaginal rejuvenation; however, electrical stimulation will not directly—or immediately—tighten the area, it can assist in stimulating and exercising the vaginal and pelvic floor muscles (known medically as the levator muscles) —much like Kegel exercises.

    As far as electric stimulation goes, there are two commercially available tools, one known as an APEX, and another called the “In Tone.” Gynecologist and plastic surgeons specializing in the pelvic floor, are well aware of these devices and use them on a regular basis. These phallic shaped devices have programmable electric simulation currents, and they are placed into the vaginal canal at least twice daily for approximately 15 minutes each time. For the first ten minutes the unit stimulates the muscles of the pelvic floor. For the final five minutes, the unit causes the levator ani muscles to contract. Like any muscle in the human body, additional use helps to strengthen it. These devices strengthen and tone, which can provide relief for those who may experience urinary incontinence issues. Just think of it as a high intensity gym session—or physical therapy–for the pelvic floor.

    Women who experience minimal muscle tone in their vagina, or decreased stimulation and sensation during sexual intercourse, may be candidates for vaginal rejuvenation. Sometimes cancer survivors may also be candidates for vaginal rejuvenation, especially when the internal reproductive system has been removed. These cancer survivors often notice changes in their vaginal and cervical area, and may experience severe pelvic pain during intercourse. This procedure can do wonders to change not only how a woman feels about herself, but may also enable cancer survivors to regain a sexual relationship with their partners.

    For those who chose to undergo vaginal rejuvenation, most are up and about approximately 24 hours post-surgery. It will take almost a full four hours for the anesthesia to fully wear off; so for those looking to better understand the aftercare regime, it is important to rest and avoid movement—especially during the first few hours following the procedure. During the first two days after vaginal rejuvenation treatment, patients should be diligent about placing ice packs or frozen vegetables gently on the incision area in order to minimize bruising and swelling. Patients may also take part in routine tasks, as long as there is no irritation or pressure to the delicate incision sites. Heavy lifting must also be avoided at all costs, and doctors recommend it ideal to rest for full recovery.

    A few days’ post vaginal rejuvenation surgery is also not the time to wear attractive undergarments. Instead, it is advisable to wear loose cotton clothing and underwear; yes, that is correct, “granny panties” are your friend. For those who are feeling fantastic by day three, they may resume regular activities, but it is imperative to avoid any friction at the incision sites. This, of course, means no working out, no leisurely strolls around the neighborhood, and absolutely no sexual contact. Many doctors also allow patients to drive after 72 hours, as long as they are not still taking pain killers or narcotics, which cause drowsiness.

    Patients may also return to work after a week, as long as they do not work in industries that require rigorous physical activity or exercise. Ultimately, it takes a full six weeks to heal from vaginal rejuvenation surgery. During this time, patients are to avoid all sexual contact, masturbation, tampon use, bath tubs and swimming. Exercises such as cycling, jet skiing, horseback riding, motorcycle, and four wheeler riding should also be avoided. In no time, most women will be able to get back to the activities they love. Overall, vaginal rejuvenation surgery should be discussed with your gynecologist if you are experiencing issues with sexual intercourse, bladder control, or pelvic discomfort after certain female surgical procedures.

    Contact Us if you are considering vaginal rejuvenation treatment.