The sensation of vaginal laxity and enlargement, associated with decreased sensitivity of the walls of the vagina is a very common complaint, especially in women who have given birth (especially in very prolonged births or larger-than-normal babies).
These changes can be extremely embarrassing and cause discomfort and shame in the woman, or even self-esteem issues that can hinder the couple’s intimate life.
WHAT IS VAGINOPLASTY?
Vaginoplasty, also known as colporraphy or “vaginal tightening”, refers to the surgical correction of either a defect in the walls of the vagina or the increase in laxity..
Surgery makes it possible to increase tightness and correct defects in the vaginal walls, including the cystocele (in which the bladder bulges into the vagina) or the rectocele (in which the rectum bulges into the vagina).
Vaginoplasty is one of the most frequently performed genital rejuvenation procedures and can be performed on the anterior and / or posterior walls of the vagina.
WHO IS VAGINOPLASTY
The ideal candidates for a vaginoplasty usually showcase the following characteristics:
- Had one or more vaginal deliveries;
- Experience loss of bladder control;
- Experience a sensation of air in the vagina;
- Decreased friction sensitivity during sexual intercourse;
- Emotionally mature;
- Realistic expectations.
WHAT RESULTS CAN I EXPECT
AFTER A VAGINOPLASTY?
Vaginoplasty tightens the vaginal canal and its musculature, presenting several benefits:
- Tighter vaginal canal;
- Greater comfort during daily routines;
- Improved confidence and self-esteem;
- Improved friction sensitivity in sexual intercourse;
- Improved couple’s intimacy;
- Decreased discomfort caused by urine leakage.
The first step of your vaginoplasty medical appointment is a medical evaluation of the genital area, your complaints, your general health status and the desired result.
According to the medical diagnosis, the surgical treatment plan is designed to improve your quality of life and eliminate the associated discomfort.
During your vaginoplasty medical appointment, a personalized treatment plan will be presented and the risks of surgery, pre- and post-operative care and the results you can expect will be explained.
After your medical appointment, an exact price for the surgery will be disclosed. This price will depend on the diagnosis and the combination of procedures.
TYPE OF ANESTHESIA
Vaginoplasty is usually performed with sedation and local anesthesia. However, the type of anesthesia may vary according to the combination of procedures and the patient’s medical history.
TYPE OF INCISION -SCAR
The vaginoplasty incision is made between the entrance of the vagina and the anus (perineum), thus the scars are on both the inside and the outside.
Incisions are closed using absorbable suture threads, which spontaneously fall a few days after surgery. Healing takes about 30 days and the scars become practically imperceptible as they are hidden from sight.
Sedation is administered by the anesthesiologist who will be present during the surgery.
Anesthesia is injected into the area to be treated.
The area to be treated is cleansed and disinfected and operative fields are placed to isolate the genital area from the external environment to prevent infections.
A speculum is placed in the vagina, to allow adequate visualization throughout the procedure.
A combination of suture techniques is performed to tighten the vaginal canal and remove a strip of excess mucosa to obtain the desired result.
Incisions are closed using absorbable suture threads, which do not need to be removed.
After being awakened by the anesthesiologist, the patient is taken to the recovery room where she remains under observation. Discharge is expected on the same day, after a few hours.
- Perform all the prescribed blood tests and exams.
- Do not take anti-inflammatory drugs in the 10 days prior to surgery.
- Do not take weight loss medications in the 30 days prior to surgery.
- Do not smoke the month before surgery and until healing is complete. Smokers have a higher risk of complications, including prolonged and unsightly scarring.
- Carefully read all the documentation on colporrhaphy as doubts may arise.
- If you get a sick or feel ill in any way in the days prior to the surgery, the medical team should immediately be informed.
- You must plan your social and professional life as to guarantee complete rest after the surgery.
- Do you have questions about the surgery? Do not wait for the last day; ask all your questions in advance.
- Dry fast.
- Shower with the antiseptic shower gel the day before and the day of surgery to decrease the risk of infections.
- Shave all pubic hair, preferably the day before the surgery.
- Bring loose and comfortable clothes to wear when you are discharged.
- After discharge, you can neither drive nor go home unaccompanied. You must be permanently accompanied for the first 24 to 48 hours.
Recovery and postoperative care
- You may experience pain and discomfort in the first few days.
- The recovery period depends on each person, but it takes an average of one week to return to work (non-physical work).
- Strictly follow the prescribed protocol, namely regarding medication intake.
- Wash the treated area with Betadine Vaginal Foam.
- Avoid any type of effort in the first 8 days and do not perform physical activity for 4 weeks.
- Avoid sexual activity for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Rest for the first few days and gradually return to your routine.
- Do not get direct sun exposure.
- Do not smoke.
- Continuously apply ice in the treated area for the first 72 hours after surgery. This is very important to avoid edema.
- You should not lie down all the time, nor stay in the same position for too long – you should get up and walk around.
BENEFITS OF VAGINOPLASTY
One of the main complaints of women who resort to vaginoplasty is the lack of friction during sexual intercourse. A tighter vagina can improve friction sensitivity. Vaginoplasty provides comfort and confidence, improving the woman’s self-esteem and enhancing couple’s intimacy.
Dr. Luísa Magalhães Ramos / Plastic Surgery
PORTUGUESE MEDICAL ASSOCIATION, Nr. 42810
Graduated by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Porto, she specialized in plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery, at Hospital de São José, in Lisbon.
Throughout her training, she subspecialized in aesthetic plastic surgery, having worked in world-renowned clinics.
Currently, she is mainly dedicated to face and breast aesthetic plastic surgery and to intimate female surgery.
Dr. Alice Varanda Pereira / Plastic Surgery
Member of The Portuguese Medical Association, Nr. 47051
Graduated by the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon, she completed her master’s degree in human sexuality and is currently developing her PhD at this same institution.
She joined the University faculty academic staff in 2008 as a lecturer of the Institute of Anatomy. It is in this unit that she produces most of her research projects, mainly in the area of surgical anatomy, whilst also supervising master’s thesis for undergraduate students.
Colporrhaphy / Vaginoplasty
IS VAGINOPLASTY A SAFE SURGERY?
According to the symptoms presented, colporrhaphy may be a surgery with a high degree of complexity. In order for the surgery to be performed safely, it is very important that it is performed in an accredited clinic and by a reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgeon, enrolled with the Portugues Medical Association, and with several years of experience in performing women’s intimate surgeries.
HOW MUCH DOES COLPORRHAPHY COST IN LISBON?
The price of a vaginal tightening surgery will depend on the degree of complexity and combination of procedures. Often, vaginal tightening is combined with other intimate surgeries such as nymphoplasty and mons pubis liposuction. The exact price of vaginoplasty will be disclosed during your medical appointment, after diagnostic.
AT WHAT AGE DOES VAGINAL LAXITY USUALLY OCCUR?
There is no specific age for these changes to happen. The relaxation of the vaginal musculature is essentially associated with natural births, the natural aging process, and significant weight fluctuations.
DO SCARS DISAPPEAR?
Any surgical intervention leaves scars and colporrhaphy is no exception. However, because the intimate area is not exposed, the scars are hidden and imperceptible.
HOW PAINFUL IS THE RECOVERY?
There may be some discomfort and moderate pain in the first few days, but recovery is usually not very painful. The prescribed medication will help the recovery, alleviating post-operative discomfort.
WHEN CAN I RETURN TO WORK, RESUME PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND HAVE SEXUAL INTERCOURSE?
Normally, the patient can return to work 7 to 10 days after the procedure but physical activity must be avoided for the first month. It is recommended to wait 4 to 6 weeks to resume sexual activity.
CAN I COMBINE A VAGINOPLASTY WITH OTHER INTIMATE SURGERIES?
Vaginal rejuvenation consists in a set of procedures that aim to improve the function and appearance of the female genitalia. Often, vaginal tightening is combined with labiaplasty to reduce labial size and mons pubis liposuction, to decrease the volume of the pubic area.
ARE THERE ALTERNATIVE NON-SURGICAL PROCEDURES TO VAGINOPLASTY?
The non-surgical alternative to narrow the vaginal canal is laser treatment. However, not all cases can be treated with this non-invasive approach. More severe cases of vaginal laxity and other urogynecological alterations require a surgical approach.
DOES THE VAGINAL TIGHTENING IMPROVE SEXUAL LIFE?
One of the main reasons why a woman resorts to vaginoplasty is dissatisfaction with her sex life (lack of friction and feeling of air in the vagina). With a narrower vaginal canal, women report an increase in sensitivity and a significant improvement in their sexual lives.
WHAT ARE THE RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS OF THE SURGERY?
All surgical and anesthetic procedures are associated with a certain risk of complications. Although the vast majority of women undergoing this surgery do not experience complications, it is important that you know about them and discuss them with your doctor. Some of the possible complications of vaginoplasty are: hematoma, hemorrhage, infection, sensitivity changes and prolonged or unsightly scarring.