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Vaginal Rejuvenation

What You Should Know Before Considering Cosmetic Vaginal Surgery

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Updated July 18, 2011

What Is Vaginal Rejuvenation?

Vaginal rejuvenation surgery, also sometimes advertised as laser vaginal rejuvenation, is a medically unnecessary procedure that claims to "rejuvenate" the vagina by tightening the vaginal canal. In this procedure the vaginal canal is essentially narrowed by removing layers of lining, the result can be an experience of tighter vaginal muscles. This surgery may be performed with a laser or a scalpel.

While this is described as “rejuvenation” the procedure (which results in scar tissue) does not return your body to a younger state. It may mimic what your vaginal canal felt like but there is no change to the nature of your vaginal canal other than the shape and size of it.

Vaginal rejuvenation surgery is based on a long standing procedure, called vaginoplasty , that was used to assist women living with incontinence as a result of chronically weak muscles that they could not strengthen usually less invasive methods.

Why Have Vaginal Rejuvenation?

While there are cases where vaginoplasty is medically indicated, and even necessary, the procedure marketed as vaginal rejuvenation is not. Like other forms of cosmetic surgery, the reasons people give for wanting it include looking/feeling younger, looking feeling “normal”, wanting to feel better about their bodies.

This procedure is marketed as a way to make yourself feel (or seem) younger and to enhance your sexual pleasure. There is absolutely no evidence that the procedure does either. However women may feel pressure to conform to unrealistic (and ultimately unattainable) norms of what their bodies “should” look and feel like, and when offered the opportunity for a “younger, tighter” vagina they may opt for a surgery that apparently carries few risks.

How Common Is Vaginal Rejuvenation?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons, which maintains statistics of plastic surgery procedures performed by their members has only recently started collecting data about cosmetic vaginal surgeries. They don’t break the figures down but in 2005 they reported 793 procedures listed as “vaginal rejuvenation” and in 2006 the number rose to 1030. Those numbers are relatively small (0.08% of all cosmetic procedures), but the surgery is the third fastest growing procedure from 2005 to 2006, showing a 30% increase in that time.

Will Vaginal Rejuvenation Improve My Sex Life?

While there is no scientific data to answer this question, it is hard to see how this surgery could reasonably be thought to improve ones sex life. There are very few nerve endings in the vagina to begin with, and this surgery carries the potential to reduce what feeling there is (because of the potential for severing nerve endings and creating scar tissue that was not previously there).

The main effect that will be noticed is greater friction during penetration, but this extra friction would primarily be something a male partner would be aware of, and as such this surgery may have more impact on your partner’s experience of sex than your own. There are many reasons to avoid having this sort of unnecessary internal cosmetic surgery.

Are There Dangers Associated With Vaginal Rejuvenation?

The procedure itself doesn’t seem to carry many risks, although as with any surgery there is always the possibility of infection and post-operative complications. However there are no data about any potential long term effects of vaginal rejuvenation, and one might be concerned about the effect on the tissue and muscles years after vaginal rejuvenation.

How Much Does Vaginal Rejuvenation Cost?

Quotes on line range from $5,500 to $8,500 for vaginal rejuvenation, and since this procedure is not medically necessary insurance companies usually will not cover the cost of the surgery.

Sources:

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “2006 Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Trends”. Accessed April 16, 2007.

Goodman, M. P., Bachmann, G., Johnson, C., et. al. "Is Elective Vulvar Plastic Surgery Ever Warranted, and What Screening Should be Conducted Preoperatively?" The Journal of Sexual Medicine. Vol. 4 No. 2 (2007):269-76.

Liao L.M., Michala L., Creighton S.M. "Labial Surgery for Well Women: A Review of the Literature" BJOG Vol. 117, No. 1 (2010): 20-25.

SIECUS. "Desire and Dollars Equals Designer Vaginas for More and More Women in the United States" Making Connections Vol. 4 Issue 3 (2006). Accessed April 16, 2007.

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