Vaginal tightening, medical incontinence and simple aesthetics are just a few reasons why women are getting vaginal rejuvenation. However, whatever the reason, these procedures are driving growth for medical spas. According to the American Med Spa Association, vaginal rejuvenation treatments have seen a 30% increase in recent years, due in large part to advances in non-invasive technology.
Vaginal rejuvenation procedures include laser treatments to the vaginal canal and/or augmentation to the labia or clitoral hood to improve appearance, sexual function and help with stress incontinence.
Ronald Blatt, M.D., chief surgeon and medical director of the Manhattan Center for Vaginal Surgery and the Manhattan Centers for Women’s Health, said patient awareness and acceptance of vaginal rejuvenation procedures is on the rise, with improved technology helping to make these procedures broadly available.
“[The driving force is] improving esthetic appearance as well as sexual confidence,” he explained. “Women lacking in sexual confidence may find that tightening of the vaginal wall will not only improve sexual experience but also provide confidence in bed.”
Standard vaginal rejuvenation is done surgically by cutting and tightening the tissue and restitching. This provides the highest degree of patient satisfaction, according to Blatt. Patients may return to work after one or two days of rest and no intercourse for eight weeks.
“Women are living longer, fuller lives and they are learning that they don’t need to put up with stress urinary incontinence or lack of sexual satisfaction, much less painful intercourse.” —Jessie Cheung, M.D., of the DuPage Dermatology & Laser Center
Non-invasive laser procedures, such as FemiLift, ThermiVa or diVa, shrink the vaginal tissue with heat, stimulating collagen production and fibroblasts. Laser treatments are done in a series of treatments spaced weeks apart. Downtime is typically less than a week.
Ideal candidates for vaginal rejuvenation procedures include any non-smoking woman who is at least six weeks post-childbirth and who is not breastfeeding.
“Women are living longer, fuller lives and they are learning that they don’t need to put up with stress urinary incontinence or lack of sexual satisfaction, much less painful intercourse,” said Jessie Cheung, M.D., of the DuPage Dermatology & Laser Center.
Cheung noted that several energy devices have been used on the face and other parts of the body for years, but now these laser radiofrequency devices have new protocols specifically for vaginal rejuvenation with high satisfaction rates.
“These energy devices stimulate new collagen and blood vessels to nourish vaginal tissue,” she explained. “This leads to strengthening and better elasticity of the vaginal tissue, as well as increased moisture.”
Burgdorf advises any practice to be intimately familiar with the ins and outs of state laws regarding laser technicians as they can vary widely from state to state.
Most non-invasive vaginal rejuvenation procedures involve a topical numbing cream, with the application of heat energy within the vaginal canal with minimal downtime overall. If the labia are treated, there are restrictions on bleaching and waxing for a week before and after treatment.
Medical Spa Integration
Because most medical spas already have the devices required for vaginal rejuvenation procedures, adding these treatments to a medical spa roster can be a relatively easy way to meet patient demand, according to Michael Burgdorf, M.D., author of The Mommy Makeover: Restoring Your Body After Childbirth.
“The standard sterile surgical setup is recommended for the surgical excision; other modalities require potentially even less equipment if utilizing laser energy delivery methods for vaginal rejuvenation,” he said.
Burgdorf advised any practice to be intimately familiar with the ins and outs of state laws regarding laser technicians as they can vary widely from state to state.
“An examination bed with stirrups is a must when considering performing vaginal rejuvenation procedures,” he added. “If relying on a technician to perform the procedure, I encourage physicians involvement in assessment and planning the procedures and to remain available in case of the rare untoward events.”