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What is Vaginal Reconstructive Surgery?

By Summer Banks
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Vaginal reconstructive surgery is a form of cosmetic surgery focusing on the area in and around the vagina. Some forms surgery, also called vaginoplasty, are cosmetic in nature, while others can be required for health reasons. Common surgeries include labiaplasty, vaginal reconstruction, and urinary incontinence surgery.

Labiaplasty, in most cases, is an elective cosmetic procedure. If the patient feels the labia minora or majora are larger or smaller than they should be, a cosmetic surgeon can mold the skin folds to the desired size. The labia minora refers to the innermost skin folds covering the vagina. The labia majora are the outermost skin folds. Labiaplasty can also be used to remove any darkening of the labia that may occur from hormonal changes and pregnancy.

Vaginal reconstruction can be requested for both medical and cosmetic reasons. There are multiple procedures that fall under this category, including vaginal rejuvenation, mons pubis reduction, and excess prepuce reduction. Vaginal rejuvenation can involve a tightening or loosening of the walls of the vagina. Mons pubis reduction can be used to reduce the size of the area below the stomach and above the clitoris. Excess prepuce reduction is used to remove any excess skin that is covering the clitoris, because an abundance of skin in this area can make orgasm difficult for the patient.

Medical reasons for vaginal reconstruction can vary from patient to patient. Some surgeons may wish to rule out all possible medical conditions before acknowledging that the surgery is purely cosmetic in nature. To eliminate any potential medical reasons, the patient be required to visit a gynecologist prior to the reconstructive surgery.

Urinary incontinence is a medical condition in which stress, like sneezing or coughing, causes a leak of urine to occur. Surgery can be used to control the leaking, and medical insurance may cover some, or all, of this type of procedure. One of the most common surgeries used to treat incontinence is the implantation of a sling. This sling can be used to make the urethra tighter, and prevent the urine leaks during times of stress.

Vaginal reconstructive surgery can be considered major surgery. Many of the procedures are performed in a hospital operating room under general anesthesia. The tools used to perform the procedures can include a laser, scalpel, and stitches. The surgeon’s fee varies according to individual procedures, and it may be charged in addition to those for anesthesia, use of an operating room, and any related hospital stay.

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Discussion Comments
By anon322790 — On Mar 01, 2013

I'm on medicare (due to disability )and they did cover the surgery. I was told to bring any co-pay with me to the hospital if there was one. I wasn't told there was one, but I brought my checkbook, and was never asked for any money.

By anon322788 — On Mar 01, 2013

I had vaginal reconstructive surgery the day before yesterday. I am in a considerable amount of pain. I had the ablation at the same time, which is not bothering me at all, really. A few cramps, but otherwise I'm fine in the abdominal area.

However, in my peritoneal area, there are some knots at the entrance. I am concerned about this. Also, there is so much swelling, even with ice, that I'm pretty sure a doctor couldn't even fit a finger in there.

I had the reconstruction 21 1/2 years after the birth of my daughter. My other two children were c-section babies. I have always been self conscious that I wasn't small enough. I was raped in my late 20s (I'm 40 now) and I was molested as a child. These are the reasons I felt I needed the surgery. I hope it does improve sex for my partner, although he's never complained. I met with my doctor one time before the surgery, and when we talked about it on the phone, he never asked why I wanted it.

As far as the ablation, he said he would be doing a different kind of ablation than he usually did, for some reason. I was in the hospital for about 30 hours. He felt that I needed no pain medication. I disagreed. He also said I was too fat and needed to eat less. This just hours after getting chewed out by a nurse for getting nauseated with every injection because I wasn't eating enough. Ugh. Bad experience, but only because I had one really lazy nurse (the rest were great) and one really rude, hateful, grumpy doctor.

By anon286106 — On Aug 19, 2012

I have just had the surgery yesterday, am home, and feel fine, some pain, but am taking Tylenol, only. will keep you updated. I also had a rectum reconstruction as well.

By ysmina — On Jun 25, 2012

@burcidi-- Just curious, did your insurance cover your surgery? Did they consider it to be vaginal cosmetic surgery or necessity?

I'm interested in getting labiaplasty but my insurance won't cover it because it's considered cosmetic surgery. It's really frustrating because I have discomfort and sometimes pain due to my condition and I think that this should be considered a medical necessity.

I'm also having difficulty finding options of doctors who do vaginal reconstructive surgery in my area. I might have to go to a private clinic and surgeon, but it's going to cost me a fortune if I do.

By burcidi — On Jun 25, 2012

@fify-- Yes, I had vaginoplasty surgery last month. It's also called vaginal rejuvenation, both terms for surgical vaginal tightening.

I was under general anesthesia during surgery and didn't have any problems until I returned home. They let me go home the next day and by then, the painkillers I was given at the hospital stopped working. The pain was really more than I had expected. I had to put ice on the area all day for close to a week.

I was on pain killers for a week. I still had pain in the second and beginning of the third week but much less, so I stopped taking the pain killers. I also had to take stool softeners to minimize pain during bowel movements.

I don't regret having the surgery and I'm sure that it's going to have a very positive effect on my sex life. But you do need to take time off from work for recovery and it takes at least a month and a half for everything to go back to normal. If you are okay with this, then go for it. And please feel free to talk about this with your doctor. There is nothing to be ashamed about, it happens to many women who have given birth.

By fify — On Jun 24, 2012

Has anyone had vaginal reconstruction surgery after childbirth?

I had my third child one year ago and have been considering surgery since then. I didn't experience much of a difference with the tightness of my pelvic floor and wall with my first children. But after my third one, it has become very loose and doesn't appear to be improving.

I'm not too comfortable talking about this with my doctor. I'm considering reconstructive surgery, but I'm not sure if I should wait longer. It has already been a year though and I don't feel that it's going to improve on its own. If my insurance will cover the surgery and if the recovery won't be too difficult and painful, I might decide to have it.

If anyone has had this surgery recently and can tell me more about it, that would be great!

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