What is Aesthetic Vaginal Surgery?
- The term Aesthetic Vaginal Surgery is also known by other names such as Vaginal Rejuvenation, Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation, Labiaplasty, Vaginoplasty, Designer Laser Vaginoplasty, Perineoplasty, and Hymenoplasty. Aesthetic Vaginal Surgery is a broad term that includes the individual procedures. Since it is a rather new field dealing with the appearance and function of a womans private parts the terminology has not been standardized. In simple terms, Aesthetic Vaginal Surgery and its many names deal with cosmetic surgery of the vulvar and vaginal region. It is cosmetic surgery of the Private Parts. Please go the Procedures tab for definitions of the individual procedures.
Why is vaginal correction important?
- Surgery to improve the appearance and function of a woman’s vaginal tissues is important for both personal esteem and physiologic function. Childbirth is often traumatic resulting in lacerations and healing process that is not personally satisfying. The use of forceps or vacuum assisted delivery and the increasing weight of babies today result in more prolapses of pelvic organs, more incontinence, and more looseness of vaginal tissues or unappealing appearance of labial tissue. Many who have finished their childbearing years are now concerned about their personal appearance and are looking for ways to deal with this problem. Some feel that they have lost a great deal of sexual sensation due to “looseness” of the vagina.
What is the procedure like?
- Almost all of the cosmetic surgeries are outpatient. Labiaplasty and vaginoplasty cases are typically finished within an hour. If a repair of the bladder, rectum or bowel is needed then a 23 hour overnight stay may be needed. If a hysterectomy is needed than it is typical to stay one to two days. Placement of a sling to help with incontinence does not prolong the hospital stay. Many patients feel the pain involved is similar to the discomfort AFTER a baby has been born. They are somewhat sore but not in agony. Pain control is excellent in the large majority of cases.
Where is the procedure done?
- The procedure is usually done in the operating room or surgery center. If a simple labiaplasty or vaginoplasty is performed then the option of performing the surgery in the office under local anesthesia and oral and injectible medication can be considered. We tailor the surgery to the patient’s projected pain tolerance, anxiety level, and health status.
What type of anesthesia is used?
- You can have a short nap or be fully awake. General anesthesia is the most common anesthetic used because of the patient’s desire not to know or feel anything. Then there is the spinal or epidural anesthetic that allows you to be awake. This is ideal for those who have a fear of going to sleep or have other major medical problems. Sedation and use of local anesthetics is the least invasive of anesthetic options. Many choose this so that recovery is almost immediate and the down time is minimal. If the case involves bladder, rectum, or bowel repair of if a hysterectomy is performed then general anesthesia is the standard.
What are the logistics involved?
- A patient interested in aesthetic vaginal surgery usually calls or emails us to set up an initial appointment for evaluation. If at the time of evaluation the patient and physician agree that surgery is the correct choice then a surgical date is finalized. If the individual is an established patient then I will usually see her within a week of surgery to perform a pre-op evaluation. They may also have this pre-op evaluation with their primary care physician for surgical clearance. This is where blood work, X-rays, EKGs are done if needed. The majority of the time a simple blood count is all that is needed. For women who are from outside the area and choose to fly in, we recommend using John Wayne International Airport. It is about 5 minutes away from where our office is located. One trip to Southern California is all that is needed. We can arrange the initial examination to be the day before planned surgery, do the surgery the next day, and go home the day after in most cases. We want to evaluate your tolerance and response to surgery before you fly off for home.
I live far away. Can I get an Internet consultation?
- Yes. You can have Dr. Kim respond to your questions in a personal and secure manner via her On-Line Consultations at firstname.lastname@example.org. She answers her emails usually within 24 ~ 48 hours. You can also send unsecured email for general questions that are not patient specific. We do this to protect an individual’s privacy.
What are the risks of surgery?
- Anesthesia is a risk factor because of the very rare possibility of a reaction to either the injected medication or inhaled agents. High temperatures and fevers from “Malignant Hypertension” can occur. I have personally never seen this in over 10 years of my clinical practice. You can also aspirate food or fluid that can obstruct your breathing tube or even cause a pneumonia. There is risk of infection of the surgical site, there is a possibility of bleeding and hemorrhage and a need to have a transfusion. With transfusions there is risk of HIV, Hepatitis, and perhaps other unknown viruses. There is even the risk of death. If tissue or mesh augmentation is needed then there is the risk of rejection of these grafts. Again, these complications are exceptionally rare and the huge majority of cases go quite smoothly. A risk you should also consider is one similar to “buyer’s remorse” when one is not fully happy with the result of surgery. The risk of having the surgery redone or amended is present but fortunately is very rare. We will fully review the risks of surgery before the case is even scheduled and give you every opportunity to have your questions answered.
What restrictions do I have after surgery?
- We advise “Pelvic Rest” for six to eight weeks. This means nothing goes inside the vagina, such as tampons or vibrators, and no sexual intercourse for the length of time. The only thing allowed in the vagina is the applicator full of estrogen cream we give you to aid in the healing process. We also recommend loose clothing and no tight underwear, thongs, or jeans that may cause rubbing and discomfort. We advice against lifting of objects or activities that can cause you to strain or bear down. We do not want tension on our suture line nor do we want to stretch tissues we have just tightened. Basically, treat yourself like a princess during this healing phase.
How soon can I go back to work?
- If you had a labiaplasty or vaginoplasty you can return to work or normal activity within 4 days. If you had both a labiaplasty and vaginoplasty then it may take you a whole week before you feel comfortable to go back to work. Much depends on the type of work you do. For example, a woman who has a desk job will return to work sooner than one who has to walk or run and carry objects from place to place. We will need to individualize your return to work date. In any event, you are usually healed by six weeks although complete healing takes up to three months.
When can I resume sexual activities after surgery?
- We recommend that you wait four to six weeks before resuming sexual intercourse. If you had a vaginoplasty it is also recommended that some stretching exercises of the surgical site start at six weeks to soften any scarring that may occur and to make the sexual experience more comfortable after surgery. This stretching exercise is not needed if you had a labiaplasty alone.
Will my partner feel any changes when we have sex?
- If you had a labiaplasty there will probably be a dramatic decrease in the interference of tissue that will be felt by both you and your partner. The same goes for vaginoplasty or vaginal rejuvenation since frictional forces are increased. You may need to perform some stretching exercises of your vagina after surgery to allow comfortable intercourse. This is even more important if your partner is large in size.