When a woman delivers a child the tissues of the pelvic floor and vagina stretch and the pelvic muscles separate. This results in vaginal laxity, an issue experienced by the majority of women who give birth naturally. There is a loss of grip which may translate into tampons migrating or falling out. Definitively, these changes in the female genitalia may culminate into a loss of sexual interest and ultimately, sexual dysfunction between the couple.
In cases of severe vaginal laxity as a consequence of transvaginal childbirth, many women consider vaginoplasty surgery. Vaginoplasty improves the tightness of the vaginal introitus ( aka vaginal entrance) and the vaginal canal while also improving the aesthetic appearance of the vagina. With the vaginal canal being tightened, sexual satisfaction is typically restored and often times improved. The results, in general are phenomenal, with a high patient satisfaction rate.
Patients may return to their non-strenuous activities after 3 days of surgery. Complete recovery typically requires 6-8 weeks, while sexual intercourse is strongly discouraged for a minimum of 8 weeks.
What is Vaginoplasty?
Vaginoplasty is a surgical procedure which is performed to tighten the vaginal canal and modify the shape of the vagina. Usual patient complaints include a loose or slack vagina subsequent to childbirth via the vaginal canal. As mentioned above, vaginoplasty surgery is both an aesthetic and functional surgical procedure, providing women with the desired tightness and appearance of one of the most important anatomical structures in the female body. A rejuvenated vagina elevates self-esteem and provides added confidence. Moreover, the results of a vaginoplasty generally improve sexual satisfaction.
The Vaginoplasty Procedure
In the vaginoplasty procedure, the primary concern and goal is tightening the vagina. First, the extent of the vaginal tightening is determined and the external appearance of the proposed rejuvenated vagina is designed. Next, the extra skin is removed from the outside of the vagina and the redundant mucosal tissue from the vaginal canal is also carefully excised. The cut edges of the mucosal tissue are then sewn together – this acts to tighten the canal by narrowing it. Next, attention is drawn to the vaginal introitus ( or entrance ), where sutures are placed to tighten the vaginal muscles. Once the vaginal canal is tightened, the overlying skin is then sutured closed. The vaginoplasty surgery is now complete. The patient may also choose to improve the aesthetic of the surrounding vaginal skin by tightening it with the use of Morpheus* radiofrequency tightening combined with Fraxel laser improve the tone and texture of the vaginal skin. The results of vaginoplasty are quite remarkable and the vast majority of patients are elated, having regained their sense of confidence and feminine beauty.
What is the difference between vaginoplasty and labiaplasty?
As was discussed earlier, vaginoplasty is an aesthetic surgical procedure which primarily aims to tighten the vaginal canal and get it back to its pre-birth state. The procedure addresses all aspects of the vagina, including skin, internal vaginal lining ( mucosa ), and musculature. The result is a tighter, more youthful, remodeled vagina.
Labiaplasty is another aesthetic surgical procedure in which the shape and appearance of labia is made more aesthetically pleasing. There are two sets of labia, casually called the lips, which surround the vagina. The inner set of labia is small while the other set of labia is bigger hence called labia minora and labia majora respectively. Sometimes the inner labia outgrow outer labia, and labial skin asymmetry is also exceedingly common. In these scenarios, women opt for labiaplasty surgery.
In review, both vaginoplasty and labiaplasty are considered vaginal rejuvenation procedures. In vaginoplasty tightening of the vaginal canal and introitus are the primary goals, whereas in labiaplasty the size and symmetry of labia is addressed. In general, both procedures are conducted together, when indicated.
What is recovery from Vaginoplasty like?
Recovery from a vaginoplasty depends on your general health and the extent of the vaginoplasty you opt for. In the case of a comprehensive vaginoplasty, which addresses the vaginal tightening ( vaginal canal narrowing and muscular tightening), as well as managing the surrounding vaginal skin with Morpheus8 and Fraxel Laser, you will require about 8 weeks to be fully recovered.
It is advised not to insert anything into your vaginal canal during recovery. From tampons to sexual intercourse, avoid everything. You may resume sexual activity after 8-12 weeks, depending on your personal preferences and tolerances. During the early healing period do not submerge your vagina in water. Avoid swimming, hot tubs, baths, and any water activity which is likely to submerge your vagina. Avoid strenuous activities at all costs such as horse-riding, running, hiking, cycling, bike riding etc.
4 things to be aware of with Vaginoplasty and Labiaplasty Surgery
1. Maintain healthy diet
Usually, patients believe that they are doing okay and they don’t need a lot of attention and care. This is normal. You don’t have to build this attitude. Surgery means your body gets subjected to a lot of physical and hence mental strain. You need energy and sound nutrition. Eat a healthy and balanced diet. Avoid junk foods as they don’t give you energy. Drink plenty of water and juices. We encourage taking Vitamin C to help with healing.
2. Manage Pain
Vaginoplasty and labiaplasty surgery can be uncomfortable for the first few days after surgery. After the pain resides, these areas tend to remain sore for a few weeks following surgery. It is necessary to manage pain according to your surgeon’s instructions. Take your medications, especially pain-killers, on time instead of chasing the pain once it commences. Chasing pain is always less effective than staying on top of the pain control with a regular pain medication schedule.
3. Avoid sexual activity
As mentioned above, sexual activity is discouraged for the first 8 weeks. After that point, we generally allow the patient to proceed with caution, advancing sexual activity as tolerated.
4. Helpers and caregivers after vaginoplast
There is no doubt that after vaginoplasty surgery, you will be sore for several days. It is advisable during this time period to have available help in carrying out daily chores, help with the children, etc. Strenuous activity may disrupt the sensitive work performed in the surgery. Hence, it is necessary for your friends, family members or hired helpers to understand the sensitivity of your condition and to pitch in accordingly.