Also known as female genital plastic surgery or aesthetic vaginal surgery
Vaginal rejuvenation usually combines vaginoplasty (“tightening” of the vagina) and/or labiaplasty or vulvaplasty (reshaping of the vulva or labia, the outer and inner lips of the vagina). It has become an increasingly popular option for women. For individuals who desire recontouring after childbirth, significant weight loss, aging or injury to genital structures, vaginal rejuvenation offers increased self-confidence and comfort.
When to Consider Vaginal Rejuvenation
- If the contours of your vaginal structures have altered and stretched over time.
- If you experience soreness or pain with sexual activity, bicycle riding or horseback riding.
- If the effects of multiple vaginal deliveries have led to reduced sensation during intercourse.
- Your vagina and surrounding muscles will return to nearly the tightness you had in your youth or before pregnancies.
- A recontoured, trim vagina may boost your self-confidence.
- You may find that wearing clothing, such as bikini bottoms or panties, is enhanced by your sleek new shape.
- Bladder injury, hemorrhage and infection might occur.
- Your partner and you may need some time to adjust to the new sensations resulting from your tightened vaginal walls.
- You may need to experiment to find positions and approaches that are comfortable and pleasurable for both you and your partner.
These are the top three pros and cons to weigh when considering vaginal rejuvenation. If you want to focus on what is unique to you, please consult with your aesthetic plastic surgeon.
Are you a good candidate for vaginal rejuvenation?
The following are some common reasons why you may want to consider vaginal rejuvenation:
- Your vaginal structures sag and have become more lax due to aging, weight loss or pregnancies.
- You have discomfort from scarring as a result of previous genital surgeries.
- You have stress urinary incontinence and wish to combine a “vaginal lift” with a corrective procedure.
- You desire a sleeker, more refined contour to your labia and vulva.
If you are in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations, you are most likely a good candidate for this procedure.
Detailed Procedural Info
The most common vaginal procedure today is laser vaginal rejuvenation; your surgeon will discuss the most appropriate technique for you. A pudendal block is given to provide 18 to 24 hours of postoperative pain control. The laser is used very much like a scalpel, but it allows a precise aesthetic result, with less bleeding. Redundant (extra) tissue will be removed and the incisions will be sutured inside the vagina.
For a labiaplasty, the desired labial/vulval contours are outlined with a surgical marker and sutures are then placed. A laser is used to remove tissue beyond the desired contour, then skin staples are placed to align the edges of the labia, absorbable sutures are used, and the staples are removed.
- Natural aging, childbirth or a hereditary condition may lead to a woman to seek vaginal rejuvenation.
- The results are long-lasting and can help you feel more comfortable wearing certain types of clothes, exercising and during sex.
What are my options?
Your surgeon will discuss with you which areas of correction or enhancement are best for you:
- Reduction of the labia minora (inner lips of the vagina)
- Reduction or augmentation of the labia majora (outer lips)
- Mons pubis reduction
- Clitoral hood remodeling
- Labiaplasty removes redundant tissue along the ruffled edge, reducing the size and protrusion of the labia minora
- Labia majora reduction removes excess skin and tissue from the outer lips of the vulva, hiding the incisions on the inner edge of the labia.
- Excess bulk of the mons can be disproportionate with the rest of your body.
- Liposuction or surgical resection can improve the contour with minimal scars.
- Clitoral hood reduction removes excess protrusive tissue overlying the clitoris.
What will my vaginal rejuvenation incisions and scars be like?
For the vaginoplasty, the incisions are made to the mucosal walls inside the vagina. For a labiaplasty, the incisions are made to the labia minora or majora so that excess tissue can be removed.
Selecting a Surgeon
It’s important to choose your surgeon based on:
- Education, training and certification
- Experience with vaginal rejuvenation surgery
- Your comfort level with him or her
After finding a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area who is experienced in performing vaginal rejuvenation, you will need to make an office appointment for your consultation. Generally, because of the in-depth nature of the consultation, there is a cost associated with the initial visit.
Your initial consultation appointment
During your initial consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your cosmetic goals. Your surgeon will evaluate you as a candidate for vaginal rejuvenation and clarify what a vaginoplasty and/or labiaplasty can do for you. Understanding your goals and medical condition, both alternative and additional treatments may be considered.
You should come to the consultation prepared to discuss your complete medical history. This will include information about:
- Previous surgeries
- Past and present medical conditions
- Allergies and current medications
Your treatment plan
Based on your goals, physical characteristics, and the surgeon’s training and experience, your surgeon will share recommendations and information with you, including:
- An approach to your surgery, including the type of procedure or combination of procedures.
- The outcomes that you can anticipate.
- Your financial investment in the procedure.
- Associated risks and complications.
- Options for anesthesia and surgery location.
- What you need to prepare for your surgery.
- What you can expect to experience after surgery.
- Show before-and-after photos of cases similar to yours and answer any questions.
Questions to ask your aesthetic plastic surgeon
We developed these questions to help you:
- Make the most informed and intelligent decisions about your procedure.
- Confirm that you have the right surgeon for your procedure.
- Make your initial consultation as rewarding as possible.
- Understand your options, potential outcomes and risks.
It is important for you to take an active role in your surgery, so please use this list of questions as a starting point for your initial consultation.
- Am I a good candidate for vaginal rejuvenation?
- Are the results I am seeking reasonable and realistic?
- Do you have before-and-after photos I can look at for the procedure I am undergoing?
- Will my scars be visible? Where will my scars be located?
- What kind of anesthesia do you recommend for me?
- What will be the costs associated with my surgery?
- What will you expect of me to get the best results?
- What kind of recovery period can I expect and when can I resume normal activities?
- What are the risks and complications associated with my procedure?
- How are complications handled?
- What are my options if the cosmetic outcome of my surgery does not meet the goals we agreed on?
Preparing for Your Procedure
Your surgeon will provide you with preoperative instructions, answer any questions that you may have, take a detailed medical history and perform a physical exam to determine your fitness for surgery.
In advance of your procedure, your surgeon will ask you to:
- Stop smoking before undergoing surgery to promote better healing.
- Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs and some herbal medications that can cause increased bleeding.
- Regardless of the type of surgery to be performed, hydration is very important before and after surgery for safe recovery.
Vaginal rejuvenation is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Be sure to arrange for someone to drive you home after surgery and to stay with you at least the first night after surgery.
What can I expect on the day of vaginal rejuvenation surgery?
Your surgery may be performed in an accredited hospital, a freestanding ambulatory facility or an office-based surgical suite. Most vaginal rejuvenation procedures take at least one to two hours to complete but may take longer.
- Medications are given for your comfort during the surgical procedure. A nerve block will be administered to numb the entire vaginal area and will provide 18 to 24 hours of pain control.
- General anesthesia is commonly used during a vaginal rejuvenation procedure, although local anesthesia or intravenous sedation may be desirable in some instances.
- For your safety during the surgery, various monitors will be used to check your heart, blood pressure, pulse and the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
- Your surgeon will follow the surgical plan discussed with you before surgery.
- After your procedure is completed, you will be taken into a recovery area where you will continue to be closely monitored. You will have drainage tubes in place. After surgery, you will be placed in a surgical dressing that includes a support or compression garment over your vagina.
You will probably be permitted to go home after a short observation period, unless you and your plastic surgeon have made other plans for your immediate postoperative recovery or additional corrective procedures have been performed that require longer observation in the facility.
Aftercare and Recovery
Your surgeon will discuss how long it will be before you can return to your normal level of activity and work. After surgery, you and your caregiver will receive detailed instructions about your postsurgical care, including information about:
- Drains, if they have been placed
- Normal symptoms you will experience
- Potential signs of complications
See options for short-term recovery locations in Aftercare and Recovery (Planning Toolkit).
Immediately after your vaginal rejuvenation
There may be some bruising and swelling in the initial postoperative period. In addition, you may experience minor discomfort, which can be controlled by medication. Bed rest the day of surgery is recommended and you may return to work within five to seven days, depending on your activity level. You should refrain from engaging in sexual intercourse for one month.
Recovery time frame after vaginal rejuvenation
It is vitally important that you follow all patient care instructions provided by your surgeon. This will include information about wearing compression garments, care of your drains, taking an antibiotic if prescribed and the level and type of activity that is safe. Your surgeon will also provide detailed instructions about the normal symptoms you will experience and any potential signs of complications. It is important to realize that the amount of time it takes for recovery varies greatly among individuals.
How Long Will the Results Last?
The results of a vaginal rejuvenation procedure are intended to be permanent, but significant weight gain or a subsequent pregnancy can alter the results.
Maintain a relationship with your aesthetic plastic surgeon
For safety, as well as the most beautiful and healthy outcome, it’s important to return to your plastic surgeon’s office for follow-up evaluation at prescribed times and whenever you notice any changes in your vagina. Do not hesitate to contact your surgeon when you have any questions or concerns.
The cost of vaginal rejuvenation varies from doctor to doctor and from one geographic area to another. Because vaginal rejuvenation is elective surgery, insurance does not cover these costs. Many surgeons offer patient financing plans to make the procedure more affordable.
Choose your surgeon based on quality, training and experience—not cost.
Limitations and Risks
Fortunately, significant complications from vaginal rejuvenation are infrequent. Your specific risks will be discussed during your consultation.
All surgical procedures have some degree of risk. Some of the potential complications of all surgeries are:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under the skin that may require removal)
- Infection and bleeding
- Changes in sensation
- Allergic reactions
- Damage to underlying structures
- Unsatisfactory results that may necessitate additional procedures
You can help minimize certain risks by following the advice and instructions of your board-certified plastic surgeon, both before and after your vaginal rejuvenation surgery.