Vaginal rejuvenation is a procedure that can make a woman feel better for beauty and health reasons.
With ageing and life experiences, many changes come. Some are visible – wrinkles, grey hair, sagging skin – while others take place in private parts of our bodies. Precisely because they are so private, these changes can be a source of deep distress, as they strike at our identity as sexual beings.
With ageing, just as the facial skin tissue loses elasticity and sags, the same can occur in the genital area and the vaginal lining. The most common cause of vaginal wall laxity is overstretching of the vaginal wall during childbirth, which worsens with the number of normal deliveries.
Concomitant weakness in muscles of the pelvic floor can result in stress incontinence. This manifests as urine leakage when the patient coughs, sneezes or laughs.
Similarly, the labial skin can become excessive with ageing and after multiple childbirths. The labia minora becomes floppy and protrudes significantly beyond the labia majora. This can result in discomfort and rash, and can be a source of embarrassment when wearing tight-fitting clothing.
Vaginal rejuvenation procedures have become increasingly popular to restore function and improve aesthetics in the genital area. This new field of medicine is also called intimate surgery.
The two main groups of procedures done for vaginal rejuvenation are vaginal tightening and labiaplasty (shaping of labia).
Laser vaginal rejuvenation
Loss of tissue tensile strength can increase the inner diameter of the vaginal canal. This can result in loss of friction and sexual satisfaction for both the patient and her partner.
In the past, vaginal tightening required surgery. But with the advent of better laser equipment, this can be achieved using non-surgical methods. Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation is a non-invasive procedure that can address this issue. The laser can also be used to rejuvenate the outer part of the female genital (labia minora and labia majora). Most patients also observe improvement in mild stress incontinence after the laser procedure.
This procedure uses a laser probe that is inserted into the vagina canal and emits a non-ablative laser for tightening the vaginal wall. It heats up the genital mucosa to initiate collagen remodelling and subsequent production of new collagen. There is no external wound after the procedure and patients can return to work the next day. This treatment is done over 2 laser sessions 6-8 weeks apart. Significant results are usually experienced within 6 weeks. It has been reported to provide an over 90% patient and partner satisfaction rate.
Labiaplasty involves using surgical techniques to improve the shape of the labia by removing excess labial tissue. This provides a better aesthetic outcome. It is done under a combination of local anaesthesia and sedation. Because the surgical field is an extremely sensitive area, local anaesthesia alone would be too uncomfortable.
Depending on the location and amount of labial excess, various excision methods are available to remove excess and re-shape the labia. Usually the focus is on the labia minora. Occasionally the labia majora may need re-shaping. This is a day-surgery procedure. Wound care is uncomplicated and requires regular application of antibiotic ointment. There is no need for suture removal and most patients return to work within 3-4 days.
Many patients opt to have other procedures done at the same time as vaginal tightening. The most popular procedures include G-spot augmentation, clitoral unhooding and hymen repair. The G-spot is an area in the anterior wall of the vaginal canal which is perceived to result in heightened sensation when stimulated. This area can be augmented by injection of hyaluronic acid filler or fat transfer.
Clitoral unhooding is a minor surgical procedure to reduce excess tissue of the “hood” that protects the clitoris from abrasion or over-stimulation when not engaged in sexual activity. Some women who have excess tissue find it difficult to achieve orgasm because of the excess tissue that sometimes even covers the clitoris.
The hymen is a thin layer of tissue that serves as a barrier to the entrance to the vagina. Hymen repair involves surgically repairing a tear or reconstructing a new one.
Who to consult
The two groups of specialists active in intimate surgery are plastic surgeons and gynaecologists. Plastic surgeons have a long history of performing vaginal reconstruction post-tumour resection. They further apply their aesthetic sense in female intimate surgery.