Vaginoplasty

Vaginoplasty is a surgical procedure that creates or reshapes the vaginal opening. It is used to treat ambiguous genitalia caused by intersex conditions, congenital vaginal or cloacal anomalies, and severe vaginal trauma.

Vaginoplasty

Vaginoplastyis a procedure to reconstruct or repair a vagina and its parts. It treats various medical issues, including vaginal injury due to childbirth and pelvic floor disease complications. After childbirth, women may complain of vaginal laxity, often caused by the stretching of tissues and separation of muscles, and many times this lack of tone can be a factor for sexual dysfunction. A vaginoplasty brings these 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. Vaginoplasty is also done in certain cases of uterine transplantations.

Who needs vaginoplasty?

  • Individuals seeking repair of childbirth defects or trauma to improve sexual function
  • Women who need vaginal reconstruction after undergoing radiation or excision of the vagina to treat cancer or other conditions

  • Women born with congenital abnormalities affecting the development of the vagina
  • Individuals seeking to tighten up the vagina that has become slack or loose from vaginal childbirth or ageing
  • Certain cases of uterine transplantations

Before the procedure, it is necessary to undergo certain assessments and tests so as to prepare for the treatment. These include a physical exam to assess health and learn more about the patient's medical history, and educating the patient about the preparations, risks, benefits, and post-surgical care requirements, so that the patient will be thoroughly prepared going into surgery.

How is it done?

Firstly, the amount of tightening to be done in the vagina is determined, and a surgical plan formulated accordingly. Vaginoplasty can be done under local anaesthesia, but many opt to have it done under general anaesthesia. After the anaesthetic is administered, demarcations are made to delineate the extra skin to be removed from inside the vagina. After removal of the extra skin, the tissues beneath it are tightened with strong sutures. Once the vaginal canal has fully been tightened, the mucosal skin also is sutured closed, thus reducing the opening size of the vagina. If there is any external skin that protrudes, this can be reduced as well, for a more aesthetic result.

The vaginoplasty done to repair congenital defects is slightly different and it includes the creation of a functional vagina, the removal of excess tissue or abnormal structures, and the prevention of blood from pooling during menstruation.

Vaginoplasty typically results in a tighter vaginal canal, which can help enhance sexual satisfaction. Other benefits include an overall rise in self-esteem. In the case of women with congenital defects, it enables them to bear children also, apart from the former benefits.

What are the risks involved?

  • Dyspareunia or painful intercourse
  • Numbness or loss of sensation
  • Infection in the operated parts
  • Permanent changes in sensation
  • Ongoing pain
  • Scarring

After the procedure, patients may need anywhere from a few weeks to a few months for recovery, depending on the extent of surgery. There may be intense pain for the first few days, and it is advisable to avoid intercourse for about eight weeks. Also, depending on the amount of tightening performed, some patients may be instructed to use dilators over time so that the vagina may slowly be loosened into the required size.