Vaginoplasty is an outpatient surgical and non-surgical procedure that permanently reconstructs or repairs the vagina. Also referred to as vaginal tightening, vaginoplasty is often accompanied by labiaplasty. Vaginoplasty can be an important procedure for building confidence, addressing medical complications, and restoring sexual well-being. The most common reasons women seek vaginoplasty procedures include the following:
- Repairing the function or appearance of the vagina following childbirth or trauma. This is the most common reason for vaginoplasty. In many cases, patients seek out this procedure to tighten the vagina to restore sexual function.
- Correcting congenital abnormalities affecting the development of the vagina.
- Correcting pelvic-floor disease complications and incontinence.
- Completing vaginal reconstruction following excision or radiation used for cancer treatments.
Vaginoplasty can repair and improve the function or appearance of the vagina by repairing damaged muscle and supporting vaginal tissue, removing extra skin, securing loose tissue and reducing the size of the vaginal opening. It can be performed most commonly under local anesthesia.
It’s common for women to experience stretching and laxity caused by muscle separation following childbirth. This can lead to sexual dysfunction and insecurity. Incontinence caused by vaginal laxity can also greatly decrease quality of life. During a vaginoplasty procedure that is being performed to address looseness, the doctor is able to bring separated muscles together to tighten the walls of the vagina. If requested, excess skin can also be removed for aesthetic benefits.
Vaginoplasty recovery and aftercare are both influenced by the specifics of your surgery. While patients are provided with detailed instructions for vaginoplasty aftercare prior to being discharged, it’s helpful to have an idea of what kind of timeline to expect.
While recovery times vary by patient, vaginoplasty full recovery typically takes six to eight weeks. However, most patients return to normal activity within a few days. It’s common for patients to experience some swelling, tenderness, bruising, and soreness in the days and weeks following surgery. While discharge and light bleeding are considered normal postoperative symptoms, excessive or abnormal bleeding should be taken as a sign to call your doctor immediately. The same is true of excessive pain and swelling that appears to be getting worse as time goes on instead of subsiding during vaginoplasty recovery.
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Patients will be provided with detailed instructions for care and recovery following vaginoplasty surgery. In addition, the surgical care team will be available to answer questions both during follow-up appointments and whenever questions arise. While recovery windows can vary by patient, instructions for the first six weeks following surgery are generally the same for all patients. Here’s a look at some key points of vaginoplasty aftercare.
Cleaning and Washing
Patients will be advised to gently rinse and pat the genital area following urination or bowel movements. Showering daily is recommended. Your surgeon may also recommend specific cleansing products or techniques. Due to the risk of bacteria transfer and friction, tight clothing should be avoided for the first few weeks of vaginoplasty recovery.
Patients are also advised to avoid strenuous activities for the first five to six weeks following surgery. Swimming, vigorous workouts, prolonged sitting or standing, and baths are all prohibited for the first month of recovery. The window can be longer for riding a bike. Light walks and casual activities are ok as tolerated during the recovery period.
An antibiotic ointment that needs to be applied to incisions and nearby areas may be prescribed to you to avoid bacteria. You will be given instructions on how to apply it and how often you need to apply the antibiotic ointment.
It’s advisable to have your vaginoplasty procedure soon after your menstrual cycle so as to make it easier for the healing process. Patients are also advised to avoid tampons immediately following surgery as they might affect the sutures, instead, patients can use pads.
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Following vaginoplasty, patients are advised to wait six to eight weeks before having sexual intercourse. While the wounds will be closed before then, the waiting period helps to avoid risks of the wound reopening due to strain, pressure, or friction.
Urination is usually not a problem with vaginoplasty. Initially, urination may cause feelings of tenderness due to swelling in the days following surgery. This is considered normal, and patients will be advised to pat the area dry following urination.
If you’d like to book a personalized assessment for vaginoplasty in Los Angeles, Dr. Michael Tahery can talk with you and answer all your questions about this procedure. Offering decades of experience in vaginoplasty and other vaginal rejuvenation procedures, Dr. Tahery is a board-certified OB/GYN and urogynecologist serving women’s health needs in Southern California. Book your Los Angeles vaginoplasty consultation today!