As defined by the American Society of Cosmetic Physicians, “Cosmetic gynecology aims to make improvements to either the physical appearance or function of the vagina and labia; in many cases, both goals are accomplished simultaneously. The results of cosmetic gynecology can improve the enjoyment of sexual activities, while also rejuvenating the genitals to make the body appear younger or more aesthetically-pleasing.” In layman’s terms, this is largely referred to as vaginal rejuvenation. That said, some procedures are more popular than others. This is a topic that is growing in interest to those in our business. Thus, it will be covered at SCALE 2019 Music City. For the purposes of this blog post, however, the content may not be appropriate for all readers.
Why Vaginal Rejuvenation is Hot
In 2018, The Hollywood Reporter ran the headline, Vaginal Rejuvenation is the Latest Trend to Hit Hollywood. As the article explains, it was the hottest new trend in 2017, but it’s one that has remained strong even as we have tipped well into 2019. Star power drives this trend, as with many cosmetic trends. (Source).
Most women seeking one of the many procedures available are looking to repair the damage that childbirth and/or age have caused. As noted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, “The natural process of childbirth stretches the muscles and tissues of the vagina, vulva, and labia. These and similar changes, whether due to giving birth, aging, or fluctuation in weight, can have a negative impact on sexual intimacy such as decreased sensation, pain, or soreness during sex. In addition, some women experience pain while riding bicycles, horses or other high-impact exercises.” The opportunity to fix this is highly attractive. The options include vaginoplasty, labiaplasty, and vulvoplasty.
While this is a procedure that also is used to create a vagina when people are going through gender confirmation, the large majority of the clients we see are opting for this procedure to tighten things up. Here is how that works.
Vaginoplasty (also known as posterior colporrhaphy) is a procedure designed to tighten the vagina. An alternative is noninvasive vaginal tightening through heating tissues with radiofrequency waves or laser. Patients with significant laxity may not experience a benefit from these treatments and may be better candidates for surgical tightening with vaginoplasty… A vaginoplasty brings the separated muscles together, and the extra mucosa skin from the back side of the vagina is removed. The external skin can also be removed for a more aesthetic appearance… Once the amount of tightening to be done is determined, a pie-shape wedge is marked to delineate the extra skin to be removed from inside the vagina. Beneath the skin, the tissues are tightened with strong sutures. Once the vaginal canal has been tightened, the mucosal skin is sutured closed. If there is external skin that protrudes, this can be reduced as well for a more aesthetic result. (Source).
This surgery is designed to reduce the length and size of the labia, which can be irritated or injured from twists and tugs. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons describes it this way:
A procedure that reduces the length of the labia minora. It is the most commonly performed vaginal rejuvenation procedure. Women opt for surgery for a variety of reasons, including pain from twisting and tugging of the labia when riding a bike or during intercourse, itching, irritation and self-consciousness.The goal of the procedure is to reduce the labia minora so that they don’t hang below the hair-bearing labia majora. A labiaplasty may be performed to reduce asymmetry when one is longer than the other, or, more commonly, to reduce the length of both labia so that the labia no longer twist, tug or fall out of a bathing suit.The most common type of labiaplasty is the trim procedure, in which the extra tissue is removed and sewn up directly. Next in popularity is the wedge procedure, which maintains a natural border after a pie-shaped piece of tissue has been removed. Extra folds of the clitoral hood can also be reduced at the same time. Closure is usually done with absorbable sutures.
This is a procedure in which the vulva is reshaped, or shortened. As described by a European plastic surgeon, it is a surgical procedure to reduce an enlarged labia. (source). While there are certainly some physical issues that can be taken care of with the surgery, largely this is a cosmetic procedure.
These are just the three main types of vaginal rejuvenation surgery. There are many other procedures, both surgical and less invasive options, that women are investing in. All of these trends will be part of the discussion at our annual meeting and conference in May.