Vaginoplasty, also known as vaginal tightening surgery, is a surgical procedure commonly performed in the UK to reconstruct or tighten the vagina. It is usually performed to improve vaginal function or to correct congenital or acquired anomalies. It may also be performed as a gender affirmation surgery for transgender individuals. The procedure may involve removing excess skin, tightening the vaginal walls and muscles, and re-establishing the right balance of hormones to enhance sexual function. Centre for Surgery in London is a specialist centre of excellence for cosmetic gynaecology, and our expert gynaecologists regularly perform vaginoplasty and vaginal tightening surgery at our Baker Street clinic in Marylebone.
What is the function of the vagina?
The vagina is a reproductive and sexual organ in the female anatomy. Its primary functions are:
- Sexual intercourse: The vagina serves as a passageway for sperm to reach the uterus and fallopian tubes during sexual intercourse.
- Childbirth: The vagina expands during childbirth to allow the baby to pass from the uterus to the outside world.
- Menstruation: The vagina is also a passageway for menstrual blood to leave the body.
- Sexual pleasure: The vagina contains many nerve endings and is capable of producing pleasure during sexual stimulation.
- Maintaining vaginal health: The vagina naturally self-cleanses and maintains a healthy balance of bacteria and pH to prevent infections.
Where is the perineum and what does it do?
The perineum is a muscular and fibrous region located between the anus and the vulva or scrotum in women and men, respectively. It serves several important functions, including:
- Support: The perineum provides support to the pelvic organs, including the bladder, rectum, and uterus.
- Sexual function: The perineum contains several sexually sensitive nerve endings and is often involved in sexual stimulation and pleasure.
- Childbirth: During childbirth, the perineum stretches to allow for the delivery of the baby. In some cases, an episiotomy, or surgical incision, may be performed to enlarge the vaginal opening and reduce the risk of tearing during delivery.
- Urinary and bowel control: The perineum contains the pelvic floor muscles, which are important for bladder and bowel control.
The perineum can be stretched or damaged during childbirth or other physical activities, leading to conditions such as perineal tears, pelvic floor muscle weakness, or pelvic organ prolapse. In some cases, surgical procedures, such as perineoplasty or pelvic floor reconstruction, may be performed to repair or correct perineal defects or damage.
What is the most common cause of damage to the vagina?
The vagina is a highly adaptable and resilient organ, but it can still be subjected to injury in certain circumstances. The most common cause of vaginal injury is childbirth. The process of delivering a baby can put a significant amount of stress on the vaginal tissues, which can result in stretching, tearing, or even episiotomy (a surgical cut made in the perineum to aid in delivery). These injuries can range from mild to severe and can cause discomfort, pain, and in some cases, long-term complications such as scarring, vaginal relaxation, or difficulty with sexual function.
Other causes of vaginal injury include vaginal surgeries, such as gynaecological procedures or cosmetic surgery, which can result in cuts, tears, or burns to the vaginal tissue. Sexual trauma, such as sexual assault or rough sexual activity, can also result in vaginal injury. Medical conditions that can cause vaginal injury include lichen sclerosus, an autoimmune condition that can cause thinning and scarring of the vaginal tissues, and vulvodynia, a condition that causes chronic pain in the vulva and vagina.
What are the most common symptoms of a loose vagina?
Vaginal looseness, also known as vaginal relaxation, is a condition in which the vaginal walls become stretched or lax, which can cause a reduction in tone and elasticity. It is a common concern for many women and can result from a variety of causes, including childbirth, ageing, hormonal changes, and lifestyle factors. The most common symptoms of vaginal looseness include:
- Decreased sexual pleasure: The loss of tone and elasticity in the vaginal walls can lead to decreased sexual sensation and pleasure during sexual activity.
- Loss of tightness: Women with vaginal looseness may feel a sense of looseness or “empty” feeling in their vagina, which can result in decreased sexual satisfaction for both partners.
- Incontinence: Vaginal looseness can cause pelvic organ prolapse, resulting in urinary or faecal incontinence.
- Decreased sexual satisfaction: The reduced tightness and sensation in the vagina can lead to decreased sexual satisfaction for both partners.
- Discomfort during physical activity: Women with vaginal looseness may experience discomfort or pain during physical activities such as exercising or horseback riding.
- Increased vaginal infections: The loss of tone in the vaginal walls can cause the vaginal environment to become more alkaline, which can increase the risk of vaginal infections such as yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.
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It is important to note that many of these symptoms can also be caused by other conditions, so it is important to seek medical evaluation to determine the underlying cause. Treatment options for vaginal looseness may include pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegels), hormonal therapy, vaginal rejuvenation surgery, or other medical interventions. In some cases, lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding smoking, and avoiding irritating products, may also help improve vaginal health and reduce the symptoms of vaginal looseness. The definitive treatment for a loose vagina is vaginal tightening surgery.
What problems can perineal damage cause?
Perineal damage, whether caused by childbirth, physical activities, or other factors, can lead to a range of health problems, including:
- Pain: Perineal damage can cause pain in the pelvic region, which can be chronic or intermittent.
- Incontinence: Perineal damage can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, leading to urinary or faecal incontinence.
- Sexual dysfunction: Perineal damage can affect sexual function, causing pain or discomfort during intercourse or reducing sexual pleasure.
- Pelvic organ prolapse: Perineal damage can weaken the support structure for the pelvic organs, leading to pelvic organ prolapse, where one or more organs drop from their normal position in the pelvis into the vaginal canal.
- Scarring and disfigurement: Perineal damage can result in scarring and disfigurement of the perineal area, which can cause cosmetic concerns and affect self-esteem.
- Discomfort and itching: Perineal damage can lead to skin irritation, itching, and other discomfort in the vaginal and perineal areas.
If you are experiencing any symptoms or problems related to perineal damage, it is important to seek the advice of a healthcare professional, who can diagnose and treat the underlying cause. In some cases, surgical procedures, such as perineoplasty or pelvic floor reconstruction, may be recommended to repair or correct perineal defects or damage.
Am I suitable for vaginal tightening surgery?
Whether you are suitable for vaginal tightening surgery (also known as vaginoplasty) will depend on several factors, including your medical history, overall health, and the specific reasons for your concern about vaginal looseness. It is important to discuss your concerns with a qualified cosmetic gynaecologist, who can evaluate you and determine if you are a good candidate for vaginoplasty.
Some common reasons for seeking vaginal tightening surgery include the following:
- Childbirth: Women who have experienced vaginal childbirth may develop vaginal looseness as a result of the stretching and trauma of delivery.
- Ageing: As women age, hormonal changes and the natural process of ageing can result in a loss of vaginal tone and elasticity.
- Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as menopause, can also affect vaginal health and contribute to vaginal looseness.
- Genetic factors: Some women may have a genetic predisposition to vaginal looseness.
If you are considering vaginal tightening surgery, it is important to be in good general health and to have realistic expectations about the results of the procedure. You should also be willing to follow pre- and postoperative instructions and attend follow-up appointments with your surgeon. Your surgeon will also discuss any potential risks or complications associated with the procedure, as well as the benefits and potential outcomes.
In general, women who are in good health and who have realistic expectations about the results of the procedure are typically good candidates for vaginoplasty. However, the final decision about whether you are suitable for vaginal tightening surgery will depend on the results of a thorough evaluation by a specialist in vaginoplasty surgery at Centre for Surgery.
Which specialist performs vaginoplasty at Centre for Surgery?
Vaginoplasty is performed by Dr Paraskevi Dimitriadi. Dr Dimitriadi is a specialist female cosmetic gynaecologist who regularly performs vaginal tightening procedures at our state-of-the-art Baker Street clinic in Marylebone.
What is involved in the vaginoplasty evaluation process?
Vaginoplasty is a surgical procedure that is designed to tighten the vaginal walls and improve vaginal health. If you are considering vaginoplasty, it is important to undergo a comprehensive evaluation process with Dr Dimitriadi to determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. The evaluation process typically involves the following steps:
- Initial consultation: During your initial consultation, you will meet with your surgeon to discuss your concerns and goals for the procedure. Your surgeon will ask you questions about your medical history, overall health, and any other relevant factors.
- Physical examination: Your surgeon will perform a physical examination, which may include a pelvic examination, to assess the size, shape, and elasticity of your vaginal walls.
- Imaging tests: Depending on the results of your physical examination, your surgeon may order imaging tests, such as an ultrasound, to obtain more information about the anatomy of your vaginal walls.
- Medical evaluation: Your surgeon will evaluate your overall health and may order laboratory tests or other medical evaluations to ensure that you are in good health and that you have no underlying conditions that could increase the risk of complications from the procedure.
- Discussion of your options: After evaluating your medical history and health status, your surgeon will discuss your options for vaginal tightening surgery and will provide you with a detailed explanation of the procedure, including the benefits, risks, and potential outcomes.
- Review of pre-and postoperative instructions: Your surgeon will provide you with detailed instructions on how to prepare for the procedure and what to expect during the recovery period.
- Final decision: After reviewing all the information, you and your surgeon will make a final decision about whether vaginoplasty is the best option for you.
It is important to choose a qualified and experienced surgeon to perform your vaginoplasty procedure. Your surgeon should be able to answer all of your questions and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about the procedure. Additionally, your surgeon should be able to provide you with references from other patients who have undergone similar procedures so that you can learn about their experiences.
How are vaginal defects repaired?
Vaginal defects can result from a variety of causes, including childbirth, ageing, hormonal changes, and genetics. Repairing these defects typically involves vaginal surgery, which can involve one or more of the following procedures:
- Vaginoplasty: Vaginoplasty is a surgical procedure that is designed to tighten the vaginal walls and improve vaginal health. The procedure involves removing excess vaginal tissue and repositioning the vaginal muscles to create a tighter vaginal canal.
- Perineoplasty: Perineoplasty is a surgical procedure that repairs the perineum, which is the area between the vaginal opening and the anus. Perineoplasty can be performed in conjunction with vaginoplasty to improve the appearance and function of the perineum.
- Labiaplasty: Labiaplasty is a surgical procedure that is designed to reduce the size or improve the appearance of the labia minora. Labiaplasty can be performed in conjunction with vaginoplasty to improve the overall appearance of the vaginal area.
- Clitoral hood reduction: Clitoral hood reduction or hoodectomy is a surgical procedure that reduces the size of the clitoral hood to improve clitoral stimulation. Clitoral hood reduction can be performed in conjunction with vaginoplasty to improve sexual satisfaction.
The specific procedures used to repair vaginal defects will depend on the type and severity of the defects, as well as the goals and expectations of the patient. All vaginal surgery should be performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon such as Dr Dimitriadi, who has expertise in vaginal anatomy and surgery.
In general, vaginal surgery is performed under general anaesthesia or local anaesthesia with sedation, and patients can expect some discomfort and swelling during the recovery period. Most patients are able to return to normal activities within a few weeks after the procedure, although full healing can take several months. Dr Dimitriadi will provide you with detailed pre- and postoperative instructions to help ensure a safe and successful recovery.
How do I know I need a perineoplasty?
A perineoplasty may be recommended if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms or problems related to perineal damage:
- Pain: Chronic or intermittent pain in the pelvic region, particularly during intercourse.
- Incontinence: Urinary or faecal incontinence caused by weakened pelvic floor muscles.
- Sexual dysfunction: Pain or discomfort during intercourse or reduced sexual pleasure caused by perineal damage.
- Pelvic organ prolapse: Dropping of one or more pelvic organs into the vaginal canal due to weakened support.
- Scarring and disfigurement: Scarring and disfigurement of the perineal area that affects self-esteem.
- Discomfort and itching: Skin irritation, itching, and other discomforts in the vaginal and perineal areas.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional, who can perform a thorough evaluation and determine if a perineoplasty or other surgical procedure is appropriate for you.
What is the vaginoplasty recovery like?
Vaginoplasty is a surgical procedure designed to tighten the vaginal walls and improve vaginal health. The recovery period after vaginoplasty can vary depending on several factors, including the extent of the procedure, the patient’s overall health, and the patient’s ability to follow the postoperative instructions provided by the surgeon.
In general, the following can be expected during the recovery period after vaginoplasty:
- Pain and discomfort: Patients can expect some discomfort and pain during the recovery period, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain medications and/or prescription pain medications as prescribed by the surgeon.
- Swelling: Patients can expect some swelling in the vaginal area during the recovery period, which should subside within a few days to a week.
- Activity restrictions: Patients should avoid strenuous activity and sexual intercourse for several weeks after the procedure to allow the vaginal tissues to heal properly.
- Follow-up appointments: Patients should attend all follow-up appointments with the surgeon to monitor their progress and to ensure that the healing process is progressing as expected.
- Gradual return to normal activities: Patients can expect to gradually return to normal activities over the course of several weeks, although a full recovery can take several months.
It is important to follow all of the postoperative instructions provided by Dr Dimitriadi to ensure a safe and successful recovery. This may include instructions on wound care, pain management, and activity restrictions. Additionally, patients should inform their surgeon of any unusual symptoms or complications that may arise during the recovery period.
Overall, the recovery period after vaginoplasty can be challenging, but with proper care and attention to the postoperative instructions provided by the surgeon, patients can expect to experience an improvement in vaginal health and function after the procedure.
Is vaginoplasty painful?
Vaginoplasty is a surgical procedure that is performed under general or local anaesthesia, and the level of pain experienced during and after the procedure will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of anaesthesia used, the extent of the procedure, and the patient’s individual pain tolerance.
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Most patients report some level of discomfort or pain during the recovery period after vaginoplasty, which can typically be managed with over-the-counter pain medications and/or prescription pain medications as prescribed by the surgeon. The discomfort or pain should subside over time as the vaginal tissues heal.
It is important to discuss any concerns about pain or discomfort with the surgeon prior to undergoing the procedure. The surgeon can provide more information about what to expect during the recovery period and can help to minimize any potential discomfort or pain. Additionally, patients should follow all of the postoperative instructions provided by the surgeon to ensure a safe and successful recovery.
Is vaginoplasty safe?
Vaginoplasty, like any surgical procedure, carries certain risks and potential complications. However, when performed by a qualified and experienced cosmetic gynaecologist, vaginoplasty is generally considered safe.
Is vaginoplasty permanent?
The results of vaginoplasty are generally considered to be long-lasting but not permanent. The effects of ageing, pregnancy, childbirth and other factors can affect the results over time and may result in a gradual loosening of the vaginal tissue. Additional touch-up procedures may sometimes be necessary to maintain the desired results.
It is important to understand that vaginoplasty is not a one-time solution for vaginal looseness and that maintaining the results will require a commitment to regular pelvic floor exercises and other lifestyle modifications. Dr Dimitriadi can provide guidance on the best ways to maintain the results of your vaginoplasty and address any changes or concerns that may arise over time.
It is also important to understand that the results of vaginoplasty may not be exactly what you expect. Dr Dimitriadi can discuss the potential outcomes of the procedure and help you determine if vaginoplasty is the right option for you.
What are the risks of vaginoplasty surgery?
While vaginal tightening surgery is generally safe and effective, there are risks associated with any surgical procedure, including vaginoplasty. Some of the most common risks of vaginoplasty include the following:
- Infection: As with any surgical procedure, there is a risk of infection after vaginoplasty. Symptoms of infection may include fever, redness, or discharge from the incision site.
- Bladder or bowel injury
- Bleeding: Bleeding is a rare but possible risk of vaginoplasty. If excessive bleeding occurs, it may require additional surgical intervention.
- Nerve injury: Nerve injury is a rare but possible risk of vaginoplasty. If nerve injury occurs, it may result in decreased sensation or numbness in the vaginal area.
- Scarring: Scarring is a common risk of vaginoplasty, and the appearance of the scars can vary depending on the patient’s individual healing process.
- Dissatisfaction with results: While the vast majority of patients are satisfied with the results of vaginoplasty, there is a risk of dissatisfaction with the results, either due to a lack of improvement in vaginal tightness or due to dissatisfaction with the appearance of the vaginal area.
- Anaesthesia risks: Anaesthesia is used during vaginoplasty, and there are risks associated with anaesthesia, including allergic reactions, breathing difficulties, and heart problems.
- Blood clots: Blood clots can occur after any surgical procedure, including vaginoplasty. Symptoms of a blood clot may include swelling, redness, and warmth in the affected area.
It is important to discuss all of the potential risks and benefits of vaginoplasty with a qualified and experienced surgeon prior to undergoing the procedure. The surgeon can help to minimize the risks of the procedure and ensure the best possible outcome. Additionally, patients should inform their surgeon of any underlying medical conditions or concerns prior to undergoing the procedure.
Can I get vaginoplasty surgery on the NHS?
In the UK, vaginoplasty is considered to be an elective or cosmetic procedure, and as such, it is not typically covered by the National Health Service (NHS). Patients who want to undergo vaginoplasty will typically need to pay for the procedure privately.
However, there are some circumstances in which vaginoplasty may be covered by the NHS. For example, if a patient is experiencing functional problems or discomfort resulting from vaginal looseness that is causing significant distress, they may be eligible for vaginoplasty under the NHS.
It is important to note that the availability and coverage of vaginoplasty under the NHS can vary depending on the local health authority and the specific circumstances of the patient. If you are considering vaginoplasty, it is recommended that you speak with your GP or a specialist to determine your eligibility for NHS coverage. They can also provide guidance on the best options for financing your procedure if it is not covered by the NHS.
Vaginoplasty Surgery at Centre for Surgery
Many women are affected by vaginal looseness, which is linked to several medical conditions, including stress urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Vaginoplasty surgery is a highly effective surgical treatment to relieve many common symptoms experienced by women after pregnancy. Get in touch with us today at 0207 993 4849 or complete the contact form below to schedule an in-person consultation with Dr Dimitriadi at our Baker Street clinic in Marylebone.