Vaginal Rejuvenation (Tightening): Risky Surgical Procedure

Vaginal Rejuvenation (Tightening): risky Surgical Procedure

Vaginal rejuvenation costs thousands of dollars and is done with a laser. It includes a variety of procedures, such as women getting their labia made smaller because it is uncomfortable for them to engage in physical activity or have intercourse, women getting their vaginal canal tightened as it was pre-baby delivery, and other women going one step further by getting their hymen (the gateway to the vaginal canal) tightened. This last procedure can, in a sense, make a woman a virgin again.

Vaginoplasty (Vaginal rejuvenation) is the surgical tightening of the vaginal canal. The term vaginoplasty has also been applied to surgical procedures that create an opening in an imperforate hymen, or recreate a ruptured hymen. This is called hymenoplasty. Cosmetic Labiaplasty (labia reduction surgery and beautification) involves surgically reducing and/or reshaping the female external genital structures.

In many instances, the women who get this surgery need it for medical reasons. But not all. Some women do this as a gift to their husband or significant other. Our genitals and pelvic region in general is rich in nerves and vascular bundles, so any kind of vaginal surgery runs the risk of effecting sexual response because of nerve damage.

Through Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation®, women can now revitalize their feelings of sexual gratification. It is not, however, a solution for sexual dysfunction, lack of interest or arousal, or orgasmic inadequacy. The risks are bleeding, infection (these are the main risk and they are less than 1%); hyposensation, hypersensation, scarring, uncomfortable sex.

The proliferation of such surgeries, fueled in part by the growing popularity of cosmetic surgery. One of the most vociferous critics is Thomas G. Stovall, a past president of the Society of Gynecologic Surgeons. "There is absolutely zero scientific literature that supports . . . the notion that firing a laser of any kind will tighten [vaginal] muscles," said Stovall, who calls the surgery "a ripoff."

With the increasing popularity of various cosmetic surgery procedures, including labiaplasty, it is important that the prospective patient research and understand different issues like what the procedure can and cannot treat, inherent risks, costs, and other factors. Keep in mind, cosmetic surgery is just that - a surgical procedure whose results cannot simply be erased.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has issued a committee opinion on vaginal “rejuvenation” and cosmetic vaginal procedures, stated:

Medically indicated surgical procedures may include reversal or repair of female genital cutting and treatment for labial hypertrophy or asymmetrical labial growth secondary to congenital conditions, chronic irritation, or excessive androgenic hormones. Other procedures, including vaginal rejuvenation, designer vaginoplasty, revirgination, and G-spot amplification, are not medically indicated, and the safety and effectiveness of these procedures have not been documented. No adequate studies have been published assessing the long-term satisfaction, safety, and complication rates for these procedures.

According to many doctors, the risks connected to vaginal rejuvenation surgery are considerably less than the risks that are associated with giving birth. In a rare number of cases a patient of vagina rejuvenation surgery can experience hemorrhaging or can develop an infection that requires antibiotics or in the most serious of cases will necessitate a second surgery. It is also a rare occurrence but plastic surgeons have been known to nick the bladder or rectum during the surgery causing injury to one or both of the organs.

There is a significant, real risk to these procedures when they are done specifically for medical reasons. Still, procedures such as revirginization, which seeks to create the effect of a restored hymen, and G-spot amplification, in which a filling agent is injected into the front inner wall of the vagina, have no clear medical indication and therefore little justification, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Cosmetic procedures billed as "vaginal rejuvenation," "designer angioplasty" or even "revirgination" are not medically necessary and are not guaranteed to be safe, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) cautioned.

The group, which educates and accredits doctors who treat women and deliver babies, said it is deceptive to give the impression that any of these procedures are accepted or routine.

In guidance published in the issue of its journal, Obstetrics & Gynecology ACOG said the procedures can cause complications such as infection, altered sensation, pain and scarring.

The procedures include changing the shape or size of the labia, "restoring" the hymen, and tightening the vagina.

Dr. Abbey Berenson, who helped write the guidelines, said some women may be fooled by deceptive marketing practices into thinking they need the surgery because they are somehow abnormal.

"Many women don't realize that the appearance of external genitals varies significantly from woman to woman," Berenson said in a statement.

ACOG noted that a growing number of doctors are offering the procedures.

"Some of these procedures, such as 'vaginal rejuvenation,' appear to be modifications of traditional vaginal surgical procedures for genuine medical conditions," ACOG said in a statement.

True medical conditions that merit the surgery include pelvic prolapse, the reversal or repair of female genital cutting, sometimes known as female circumcision, and the reversal of abnormalities caused by hormone imbalances.

"There are always risks associated with a surgical procedure," Berenson said. "It's important that women understand the potential risks of these procedures and that there is no scientific evidence regarding their benefits."

The subject of potential risk and complications should be discussed between you and your surgeon. It is important that patients are aware of both the benefits and the risks, before undergoing labiaplasty. In addition, it is important that patients undergoing labia minora reduction relay to their surgeon information regarding any allergies and serious medical conditions they may have. Furthermore, patients should inform the surgeon of any medications they are taking.

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