Surgical vs. Non-Surgical Vaginal Rejuvenation

For vaginal rejuvenation there are available procedures that use radiofrequency energy, lasers, or fillers to tighten, tone, or otherwise rejuvenate the female genital area.
Lasers and injectables aren’t only for the facial area.

Lasers and injectables aren’t only for the facial area. As the demand for and interest in vaginal rejuvenation has increased in recent years, so have the number of treatment options available. Procedures are available that use radiofrequency energy, lasers, or fillers to tighten, tone, or otherwise rejuvenate the female genital area.

If you’re interested in vaginal rejuvenation, knowing the differences between surgical and non-surgical options, including what you can expect in terms of results and recovery, can help you decide on the treatment that’s best for you.

What Happens During Surgical Vaginal Rejuvenation?

There are several different types of surgical vaginal rejuvenation procedures and each one focuses on a different area of the genitalia, either inside or outside of the body. Labiaplasty removes excess skin from the area around the opening of the vagina. Vaginoplasty aims to tighten the vaginal canal.

During labiaplasty, a plastic surgeon will make incisions in the labia, removing excess skin. Often, women decide to have labiaplasty because the inner lips, or labia minora, hang down below the outer lips, or labia majora. The labia minora can become stretched out as a result of vaginal delivery or aging. Some women are born with longer than average labia minora, which can cause discomfort. Reducing the size of the labia minora can not only make a woman more comfortable but can also increase her confidence.

During vaginoplasty, a plastic surgeon makes an incision in the wall of the vagina, then excises a part of the wall. The inner vaginal muscles will also be tightened, helping to reduce the size of the canal. As with the labia minora, the vagina can become stretched out as a result of vaginal delivery, hormone fluctuations, or aging.

While surgical vaginal rejuvenation offers many cosmetic benefits, it can also have functional benefits, too. Some women see an improvement in urinary incontinence following vaginoplasty as well as an improvement in sexual function and enjoyment.

Vaginal Health: Medical Insights into Rejuvenation Procedures

The Physiology of Vaginal Tissue:

The vagina, known for its elasticity and muscle-like characteristics, experiences changes due to aging, childbirth, and hormonal shifts. After childbirth and during menopause, a decline in estrogen levels causes the vaginal tissues to become thinner and less elastic, leading to a condition often described as vaginal laxity.

How Rejuvenation Treatments Work

  1. Surgical Options (Vaginoplasty and Labiaplasty): These procedures involve the physical alteration of vaginal tissues. Vaginoplasty tightens the vaginal canal by removing or reshaping tissue and reinforcing vaginal muscles. Labiaplasty focuses on the labia, adjusting its size and shape for functional or aesthetic reasons. These surgical methods offer long-term solutions to issues like stress urinary incontinence, discomfort during physical activities, and aesthetic concerns.
  2. Non-Surgical Options (Laser and Radiofrequency Treatments): Non-surgical methods like laser and radiofrequency therapies work by stimulating collagen production in the vaginal tissues. These treatments gently heat the tissues, encouraging regeneration and tightening. While less invasive and with shorter recovery times, these methods generally provide more moderate results and may require periodic maintenance treatments.

Evaluating the Right Option:

The choice between surgical and non-surgical rejuvenation hinges on personal requirements, the degree of tissue laxity, and health objectives. Surgical options, being more invasive, provide permanent results and are better suited for substantial anatomical alterations. In contrast, non-surgical methods, offering minimal downtime, are preferable for those seeking less invasive solutions for mild to moderate vaginal laxity symptoms.

What Happens During Non-Surgical Vaginal Rejuvenation?

Several different types of non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation are available. The type that is right for a person depends in large part on her overall goals for the procedure. Some women opt for non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation procedures that use either laser or radiofrequency energy to heat up the tissue inside of the vagina.

Usually, during treatment with radiofrequency or laser energy, a small wand is placed into the vagina. The energy produced by the wand helps to encourage the production of collagen, which in turn helps to tighten up the walls of the vaginal canal.

In addition to tightening the vaginal canal, treatment with radiofrequency or laser energy might also help to reduce stress incontinence and might improve vaginal dryness. Both non-surgical treatment options can help to improve the tone and size of the labia majora.

Another non-surgical option for vaginal rejuvenation involves the use of fillers to help enhance sexual satisfaction or orgasm.  

What Is Recovery Like?

Recovery differs after surgical vaginal rejuvenation compared to non-surgical options. Typically, the recovery period is longer after a surgical treatment compared to a non-surgical one. After surgical vaginoplasty or labiaplasty, you will most likely want to take anywhere from one to two weeks off from work.

You’ll also want to avoid exercise and vigorous activity for several weeks after surgery. Vigorous activity usually includes sex. To help the area heal quickly, it’s also recommended that you not use tampons for in the weeks right after surgery.

After non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation, you can expect to feel some discomfort, particularly on the day of the treatment. You might not need to take many, or even any, days off from your job and will usually not need special medications. As with surgical vaginal rejuvenation, it’s a good idea to avoid sexual intercourse and tampon use after non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation, at least for about a week after the treatment.

Understanding Risks and Aftercare in Vaginal Rejuvenation

Risks of Vaginal Rejuvenation Procedures

Surgical Options (e.g., Labiaplasty, Vaginoplasty):

  • Infection and Bleeding: Surgical risks include infection and bleeding, though sterile techniques help reduce these risks.
  • Nerve Damage and Loss of Sensation: Possible, especially with extensive tissue manipulation.
  • Scarring: Scarring is typically minimal but can occur.
  • Recovery Complications: This may include prolonged pain or discomfort, impacting activities like intercourse or exercise.

Non-Surgical Options (e.g., Laser, Radiofrequency Treatments):

  • Skin Irritation and Burns: Can result from improper use of equipment.
  • Temporary Discomfort: Some patients may experience post-treatment discomfort or swelling.
  • Allergic Reactions: Rare reactions to topical anesthetics or materials used.

Aftercare Guidelines

For Surgical Procedures:

  • Rest and Recovery: Allocate 1-2 weeks for initial recovery, avoiding strenuous activities.
  • Wound Care: Follow surgeon’s instructions for cleaning and dressing the area.
  • Pain Management: Use prescribed pain relievers as directed.
  • Follow-Up Visits: Essential for ensuring proper healing.

For Non-Surgical Procedures:

  • Minimal Downtime: Normal activities can be resumed almost immediately.
  • Avoid Intercourse and Tampon Use: Refrain for about a week for internal healing.
  • Hydration and Comfort: Stay hydrated and wear loose clothing to avoid irritation.

How Long Do Results Last?

Another notable difference between surgical and non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation treatments is the duration of the result and how frequently if at all, the treatment should be repeated. Generally, the results from a surgical vaginal rejuvenation are long-lasting, if not permanent. The body will continue to age, so there may be some notable changes in the vaginal area as a result of aging, even after surgery.

Typically, the results from a non-surgical vaginal rejuvenation treatment do not last for very long. It’s often recommended that a person repeat the treatment every year or six months if they want to maintain results.

Surgical vaginal rejuvenation procedures typically require a greater time commitment upfront and often have a higher price point compared to non-surgical options. But the trade-off is that you typically only need a single surgical procedure to get the results you want for as long as you want. At his practice in Houston, Texas, Dr. Paul Vitenas performs surgical vaginal rejuvenation procedures, including vaginoplasty and labiaplasty. To learn more about each type of surgery, call 281-484-0088 to schedule a consultation or book your consultation online.

FAQs About Vaginal Rejuvenation