Childbirth doesn’t just stretch the skin and tissues of the abdomen, it takes a huge toll on the vaginal opening as well – particularly if you have delivered more than one child vaginally. The skin and tissues become loose, making it impossible for many patients to tighten around their partners during intercourse. Not only does this adversely affect the woman’s ability to orgasm, but also the couple’s ability to experience sexual pleasure.
While there are non-surgical modalities that can help to tighten the tissues of the vagina, there comes a point where they stop being as effective. Dr. Kristi Hustak of Houston, TX discusses the cosmetic vaginoplasty, a surgical procedure that can deliver permanent benefits, as well as a unique technique that allows her to perform this procedure in the clinic under local anesthesia.
Cosmetic Vaginoplasty Improves Sexual Pleasure
As talking about the vagina becomes less taboo, more and more women are realizing that there is a surgical option for tightening a vaginal opening that has become permanently stretched from childbirth. Additionally, a surgeon will oftentimes need to perform an episiotomy during a vaginal birth. This can further weaken skin and tissues that are already stretched out from accommodating a child’s large head. Once these tissues are weakened and stretched, they don’t necessarily bounce back, especially if you’ve undergone subsequent pregnancies.
A common complaint that Dr. Hustak hears from her mommy patients is that, “they’re having some issues down below from a functional standpoint just because of friction. They can’t tighten around and feel their partner,” she explains.
Sexual pleasure is an important component of life; the ability to restore a woman’s ability to feel her partner is a game changer. Plastic surgeons have some great new non-surgical devices that can help with this, but at some point, women become stretched to the point where they are going to need surgical tightening.
Surgical Vaginoplasty Under Local Anesthesia
Many patients are adverse to the idea of surgery because they don’t want to deal with general anesthesia as it:
- requires downtime
- can make you nauseas
To counter this, Dr. Hustak has “developed a technique that I’ve pieced together from colleagues internationally and nationally to do this under local anesthesia in the office.” There is a specific nerve in the vaginal area that she numbs with a shot of anesthetic. She then performs a surgical vaginoplasty in this specific region of the vagina to tighten it without having to the put the patient under general anesthesia. The most uncomfortable part of this surgery is that you have to sit “with your legs spread and hang out with me for an hour and a half,” says Dr. Hustak.
Some patients who are anxious may take a low dose of anti-anxiety medication to make them more zen and comfortable, but about 50% of her patients don’t take anything. They get the procedure performed at lunchtime and go home to rest. Some even go back to work! The great thing with a surgical vaginoplasty under local anesthesia is that Dr. Hustak can tighten the vagina in clinic, under local, with very similar results to those that you get in the OR.
Non-Surgical vs. Surgical Vaginoplasty
There are definite advantages to a surgical vaginoplasty. The main one is that it’s “a one and done procedure,” explains Hustak. Non-surgical modalities such as FemTouch and ThermiVa require multiple treatments spaced out over time. Although effective, plastic surgeons are finding that non-surgical modalities are not working longitudinally.
It’s a similar situation to fillers. For awhile, they can rejuvenate the face, but at a certain point, the skin becomes too loose. “We’re discovering down below is the same,” explains Hustak. “We’re turning back the clock; we’re not stopping the clock.”
Cosmetic Vaginoplasty & Urinary Stress Incontinence
One caveat, however, is that a cosmetic vaginoplasty only tightens one portion of the patient’s vagina. The one thing that it does not completely address is urinary stress incontinence, a very common problem for women who’ve had children.
The procedure may make the situation better because your surgeon is tightening a portion of the circle and sometimes this helps with bladder suspension and tightness. But not always. For patients who have severe stress incontinence, Dr. Hustak will tighten the opening to the vagina surgically, and then do 1 or 2 laser procedures to address the leaky bladder. In general, this tends to work very well.
Recovery from Surgical Vaginoplasty
The downtime for a cosmetic vaginoplasty is a good 6 weeks. Dr. Hustak uses absorbable sutures so nothing needs to come out. This is important since no patient wants someone digging around down in that area after surgery. At 6 weeks post op, you will come into the office so that she can check your incision line.
At the 6-8 week mark, you are released back to full use. This means that it’s time to give things a spin and enjoy the many benefits of your rejuvenated vagina!