What can you tell me about cosmetic vaginoplasty?

Answers from Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.

Cosmetic vaginoplasty is a surgical procedure being marketed by some doctors as a way to tighten and tone a woman's vaginal muscles after childbirth — supposedly to improve the appearance of the vagina and to increase sexual enjoyment. However, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists warns against cosmetic vaginoplasty and other so-called vaginal rejuvenation procedures.

Although there are legitimate medical reasons for genital surgery, the benefits of genital surgery for cosmetic purposes are less clear. Research on the safety and effectiveness of cosmetic vaginoplasty is limited — and the risks of cosmetic vaginoplasty are potentially serious, including:

  • Infection
  • Scarring
  • Incontinence
  • Loss of sensation
  • Painful sexual intercourse

If you're concerned about weak vaginal muscles or the appearance of your vagina, consult your doctor. He or she may suggest specific exercises to tone your vaginal muscles. Your doctor can also help you weigh the potential risks and benefits of cosmetic vaginoplasty or other surgical procedures.

Nov. 21, 2009