Among the myriad cosmetic procedures that are available for women to opt for, there is vaginoplasty which is the surgical alteration or reconstruction of various parts of the outer female genitals. They are advertised variously as “vaginal rejuvenation”, “neovaginoplasty”, “vaginal reconstruction” and may be used for cosmetic purposes, to correct defects and deformities or for transgender procedures.

When is vaginoplasty indicated?

There are several situations in which procedures for vaginal reconstruction or alteration may be indicated. For instance some women may have certain congenital deformities or abnormalities such as deformity of the vaginal canal or mucus membranes that could prevent normal functioning in which case one or more of these procedures may be warranted.


Sometimes physical trauma or cancer, or a congenital disease could also result in impaired functioning of the organs of the genital area in which case the surgery may be required.

The absence or damage to the structures of the vagina or the vulva could also require reconstruction of these genital structures.

Is vaginoplasty for you?

However the benefits and advisability of using plastic surgery for the vaginal area for merely cosmetic purposes are less clear. There are significant doubts as to safety and efficacy of these procedures and whether they are even able to do what they promise to do.

For commercial purposes, procedures such labiaplasty, vaginal rejuvenation, pubic lift, hymen reconstruction and vaginal tightening and so on are advertised with promising various different benefits. They promise to restore teenage-like tightness of the genital area, which supposedly offers enhanced sexual enjoyment.

Many vaginoplasty procedures promise to restore a pregnancy feel and look to women who find that their muscles have loosened and turned saggy after childbirth, due to age or due to putting on weight over the years.

It can be tempting for women who want to look and feel younger and who imagine that they will be restored the looks and sexual enjoyment of their youth, to undergo such surgery. Some women may have issues of poor self confidence and self esteem owing to what they may imagine is unattractive genitals and this can get in the way of intimacy and relationships. In such situations as well, the promises made by slick advertising may be quite alluring.

Does vaginoplasty work?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warns against using these procedures for cosmetic purposes only and many experts express doubts about the procedures doing all that they claim to do.

Those offering vaginoplasty may well promise “enhanced sensation”, “greater sexual gratification or enjoyment for men and women”, “improvement of problems such as incontinence”, “improved muscle tightness and control”, “decreased internal and external diameters”, “improvement of friction” as well as “beautification” and a number of other things.

However it is far from clear that that these procedures actually do all that they say they can. Many procedures claim to use laser technology which is supposed to be minimally invasive and practically bloodless, however the efficacy of all this is a matter of doubt.

Risks and complications of vaginoplasty

The attendant risks of any surgical procedure such as risk of infection or hemorrhage exists for these procedures as well. Swelling, slow healing, possible anesthesia reaction, reaction to certain medications and prolonged post operative pain could also occur after the surgery.

In addition there could be problems of loss of sensation, nerve damage or permanent numbness in some cases. Sex life alteration and decreased sexual function as well as alteration of the female sexual response cycle may also be the result of the surgery. So the desire for “enhanced sensation” or “enhanced sexual gratification” could at times have the opposite result and may also ultimately result in relationship problems.

Abnormal contouring, dimples, discoloration, skin death (necrosis), skin irregularities and in cases failure of the surgery may also occur. The possibility of vaginal childbirth may decrease and chances of incontinence may increase.

It is possible that a woman expected some specific results and that the actual results were quite different. So it is important for a woman contemplating vaginoplasty to ask plenty of questions and do her own research. She should have realistic expectations and accepting of problems that may prevent such surgery. She should educate herself about possible risks and complications and about what results she may realistically expect.