Vaginal tightening also termed as vaginoplasty, is a procedure that is able to tighten up a vagina. Sometimes, as a result of aging or childbirth, many women can find their vaginal muscles weaken, loose and stretched. This can lead to making sexual intercourse less pleasurable for the woman and her partner. However, a vaginoplasty is able to help a woman tighten up the vaginal muscles and regain sexual pleasure.
Vaginal tightening is mostly considered for cosmetic reasons. After childbirth, many women can suffer from vaginal laxity, resulting from stretching of tissues as well as the separation of muscles. Sometimes, this can contribute to sexual dysfunction.
Symptoms that are associated with vaginal laxity can include loss of sensation with intercourse. Sometimes one also experiences decreased sexual satisfaction. It can have a negative effect on female sexual function, body image as well as the quality of life.
Other reasons for the vagina getting loose can include menopause, weight gain and in some cases, even high impact sports.
Like most plastic surgery procedures, if you’re considering a vaginal tightening procedure, you need to research more about it beforehand.
During your consultation with your surgeon, you can discuss the following:
- Your surgical goals
- Any previous surgeries
- Medical conditions, medical treatment, and drug allergies
- Current vitamins, medications, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco, and any other drug use
Your surgeon might also evaluate your overall health status, as well as any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors. He/she might also need to take photographs.
He/she will likely discuss the outcomes of the procedure as well as risks and potential complications. If you have any questions, you need to ask before the procedure. You can prepare a list of questions you might have for your surgeon, in advance.
Your surgeon or healthcare team will likely ask you to:
- Avoid taking aspirin, certain anti-inflammatory drugs as well as some herbal medications which can cause the bleeding to increase
- Stop smoking before the surgery as smoking can interfere with the healing process.
The procedure might be performed in a hospital or surgery center. Generally, vaginal tightening procedures take at least an hour or two. But in some cases, it might even take longer.
First, you will receive general anesthesia so that you are unconscious during the procedure and won’t feel any pain. In some cases, local anesthesia is also used.
Various monitors are used during the surgery for checking your heart rate, blood pressure, pulse as well as the amount of oxygen circulating in your blood.
First, the surgeon will determine the amount of tightening that is required. Then a pie-shaped wedge is marked to delineate the extra skin to be removed from inside the vagina.
Beneath the skin, strong sutures are used for tightening the vaginal tissues. After the vaginal canal is tightened, the mucosal skin is closed. If any external skin protrudes, this can be reduced as well.
After the procedure is done, you should be taken into a recovery area where your healthcare team will closely monitor you. You will be placed in a surgical dressing. It will include a support or compression garment over the vagina.
Unless your surgeon has other plans for any additional corrective procedures, you should be able to go home after a short period of observation.
Aftercare & recovery
You can next discuss with your surgeon how long is required before you are able to return to your normal level of activity and work. You will be receiving detailed instructions regarding your post-surgical care including any information about:
- Drains, if they were placed
- Normal symptoms that you might experience
- Any potential signs of complications
It is to be noted that you are likely to experience some bruising as well as swelling for some days after the procedure. You might also experience some minor discomfort which is manageable by medication. Bed rest is recommended for at least two or three days, depending on your activity level. You should also refrain from sexual intercourse for a minimum of one month.
You will receive patient care instructions from your surgeon, and it is very important that you follow them. The instructions will include information about caring for your drains, wearing your compression garments, taking any antibiotics if prescribed and the type of physical activity that is safe.
Your surgeon should also provide detailed instructions regarding the normal symptoms that you will experience as well as any signs of complications. It is also important to note that the amount of recovery time can vary greatly, depending on the individual.
Though the results are generally permanent, sometimes significant weight gain or a subsequent pregnancy can alter the results. For a healthy outcome, it is best if you maintain a good relationship with your surgeon and return to his/her office for follow-up evaluation at prescribed times or whenever you see any changes in your vagina. You should also inform him/her whenever you have any queries or concerns.
Risks & complications
Complications resulting from a vaginal tightening procedure are generally rare. Your surgeon should discuss your risks during the consultation prior to your procedure.
Some of the potential complications include:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Hematoma or seroma (an accumulation of blood or fluid under your skin)
- Infection and bleeding
- Allergic reactions
- Damage to underlying structures
- Changes in sensation
- Unsatisfactory results that might require additional procedures