Plastic Surgery on Your Vagina: “Rejuvenation” or Mutilation?


plastic surgery vaginaThe newest face of plastic surgery has, well…nothing to do with the face. It’s vaginal rejuvenation – an umbrella term used to describe a variety of cosmetic surgery procedures, ranging from injections to plump up your labia to a nip-and-tuck procedure that can have you looking like Barbie in no time, in the genital department at least. More and more women are turning to plastic surgeons to improve the aesthetic appearance of their vagina, but, like any surgery, there is the potential for complications that can be severely damaging and long-lasting. This has us asking an important question: Should these procedures really be filed under vaginal rejuvenation, or are they more like genital mutilation?

Vaginal rejuvenation has long been used by gynecologic surgeons to reconstruct a patient’s vulvar area following a traumatic pregnancy, cancer or another serious medical condition. However, there are also plenty of women out there who undergo these procedures for purely aesthetic purposes, dropping anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000 to ramp up their pleasure potential and have their vaginas whipped into shape. For what reason? “These surgeries save relationships,” the plastic surgeons claim, but therapist and sex educator Sheri Winston disagrees. “This is an industry preying on women who feel bad about their genitals,” she argues.

The most common vaginal rejuvenation procedure – vaginoplasty – uses sutures to tighten the walls of the vagina, and is most popular among women who have endured multiple pregnancies. A less common procedure is called a hymenoplasty, or revirgination, in which a plastic surgeon goes into the vagina and sutures together the tissue remnants of the hymenal ring. A hoodectomy, or clitoral unhooding, effectively reduces any thickened skin over the clitoris to help women reach orgasm during intercourse. Then there’s labiaplasty, which reduces the labia minor (inner labia) and labia major (outer labia) in a procedure that is almost always strictly cosmetic.

Celebrities that have undergone vaginal rejuvenation surgery:

It’s not all fun and games though. Some women who undergo vaginal rejuvenation suffer from serious complications like infection, bleeding, painful intercourse, altered sensation and permanent scarring. “I have seen a woman who had her clitoral hood ‘reduced’ because she didn’t like the way it could be seen between her labia,” said gynecologist and obstetrician Dr. Wendy Buchi. “The surgeon removed as much as he needed to so that it was not visible. This resulted in an inadequate protection for the clitoris and unbearable, constant sensation that made it difficult for her to walk. She required additional surgeries to rebuild the clitoral hood.”

And while vaginal rejuvenation may seem like a last resort for most people, the popularity of the procedure has actually escalated rather quickly in recent years, and was performed 53,332 times in the United States in 2009 alone. That’s a whole lot of rejuvenating going on. And while we’re on that topic, we’d like to point out that the term “rejuvenation” is actually quite misleading, considering the fact that more than 60% of these procedures are performed on women between the ages of 20 and 39. As if it wasn’t enough to have to worry about how your face, arms, legs, butt and stomach are holding up over time, now you can worry about the cosmetic appearance of your vagina too!

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