Is vaginoplasty painful? What downtime can I expect?

Most of our patients opt to undergo this procedure under general anaesthetic so you will feel no pain.

Tagged: Body & Breast

Is vaginoplasty painful? What downtime can I expect?

Most of our patients opt to undergo this procedure under general anaesthetic so you will feel no pain.  After your surgery, any pain or discomfort you may experience will be controlled effectively with medication provided by your surgeon and will usually subside within a few days.

You may experience some mild discomfort and swelling but this will usually disappear completely in one or two weeks. Any stitches will dissolve so there is no need for their removal although you will attend a 1 week post operative wound care appointment with a specialist nurse.  Many of our patients return to work after one week but you will be advised that you may require two weeks. You must refrain from exercise and sexual intercourse until fully healed (around 6 weeks).

Please note that we do not use a vaginal mesh as part of this treatment.

How painful is vaginoplasty recovery?

Vaginoplasty surgery itself is not considered to be particularly painful as this procedure is often carried out under general anesthetic. Here at the Cadogan Clinic, we use the latest anaesthetic technologies to minimise downtime, allowing our patients to return home on the day of the procedure.

During the recovery phase, a patient will probably experience discomfort as this delicate area will be sore, swollen and bruised immediately after surgery. A complete recovery can be expected in six weeks, as long as after-care instructions are followed properly. 

Our nursing team provides a dedicated 24/7 on-call service during recovery - whatever your question, we can provide the answer.

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How long does it take for a vaginoplasty to heal?

Generally there will be swelling, soreness and some bruising after surgery which should subside in a week or two.  After a couple of days a patient should be able to walk around comfortably. 

We recommend taking a week off work to recuperate following a vaginoplasty. A patient should be fine to drive a week after the procedure. Exercise, including going to the gym, can resume between 2 and 4 weeks after surgery. A patient should refrain from sexual activity (vaginal penetration) until between 4 and 6 weeks after surgery. A vaginoplasty should be completely healed by 6 weeks. It is recommended that a patient sleeps on their back for 4 weeks following vaginoplasty.

Vaginal tightening can also be carried out as part of a vaginal rejuvenation treatment. This procedure may also include perineal surgery (correcting the area between the vagina and the rectum), labiaplasty (reshaping and reducing the protrusion of the labia) or a simple perineum and pelvic floor tightening. The recovery time for a vaginal rejuvenation is the same as vaginoplasty - a full recovery should be expected in 6 weeks.

Ahead of vaginoplasty here at the Cadogan Clinic, the surgeon will advise the patient to stop smoking, drinking and taking aspirin or certain other medications prior to the surgery. The reason for this is that these factors can affect or slow down the healing process and should be avoided. The surgeon will discuss with the patient when these can be resumed.

Following the surgery, a patient should consider enlisting the help of family and friends to enable them to rest as much as possible after their vaginoplasty, helping to speed up recovery.

And there are a number of other things a person can do to help aid the recovery process. Ice packs will help to bring down the swelling in the genital area and wearing loose clothing is recommended in order to avoid rubbing and irritating the area, causing further discomfort. Anyone who has undergone a vaginoplasty should avoid using tampons until the site has completely healed. Sanitary towels should be used instead of any internal sanitary protection.

We would urge anyone who has had a vaginoplasty to make sure they follow the aftercare instructions issued by their surgeon.

Will I lose feeling if I have a vaginoplasty?

A vaginoplasty effectively returns a woman’s vagina to its pre-childbirth state. The procedure gives more tone, strength and control to the vaginal muscles, often enhancing sensitivity and sexual experience. However it is worth remembering that since desire, arousal, and orgasm are complex, highly personal responses, these are conditioned as much by emotional and interpersonal factors as by aesthetic ones. Heightened sexual feeling is not guaranteed by vaginoplasty. The procedure also helps to improve or eliminate minor urinary incontinence caused by childbirth or the ageing process.

It is not uncommon to experience altered sensation following vaginoplasty treatment. This may either manifest in increased sensitivity or discomfort, or the loss of any feeling at all (numbness) in the area. These changes in sensation usually occur for a few weeks following surgery. However if they persist a patient should inform their consultant - in some rare cases, these changes in sensation may be permanent. However we would like to stress that this is rare and there are no specific risks to be concerned about. The surgeon will explain the vaginoplasty procedure to you in detail at your consultation.

Words from our clients:

Can you walk after a vaginoplasty?

We would expect a patient to be reasonably mobile within a day of vaginoplasty. A patient will be able to walk around comfortably after a couple of days. It is important that you listen to your body and don’t push yourself, as this could be counter productive to the healing process.

What does the scar look like after vaginoplasty?

There will be no obvious external scarring left by vaginoplasty as this is a procedure which is carried out on the inside of the body.

The surgery is designed to tighten the vagina. To achieve this, the surgeon joins together the stretched muscle at the back of the vagina, therefore shortening it, using dissolvable stitches. Then the excess vaginal lining is removed and the surrounding soft tissues tightened.

The incision sites are all internal and therefore are very discreet.

As part of your treatment with the Cadogan Clinic, we offer a complimentary consultation and treatment with our onsite team of aestheticians to ensure you heal and scar quickly and efficiently.

Treatments mentioned in this article

It is common for women to have concerns about the size, shape or definition of their labia, the inner and outer folds that sit either side of the vagina.

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Vaginal surgery can involve both the tightening of the vaginal pelvic floor, as well as rebuilding and reinforcing the perineal muscles on the outside of the vagina. Often referred to as Vaginoplasty, this is a reconstructive operation and rebuilds the pelvic floor in cases where women have experienced severe stretching of the vaginal tissue and muscles, as well as the perineal body at the entrance of the vagina, strengthening the muscles and reducing vaginal laxity.

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Vaginal rejuvenation is a combination of surgical procedures which can effectively improve the appearance, sensation and function of your vagina and surrounding areas, including the labia and perineum.

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Oversized or irregularly shaped labia are common. Although there is no accepted definition of what is normal when it comes to the vulva, and labia truly come in all shapes & sizes, however they may be enlarged or significantly asymmetrical.

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Laurel Wreath for Awards
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My Face My Body

Best Clinic Winner

Laurel Wreath for Awards
Laurel Wreath for Awards


My Face My Body

Highly Commended

Laurel Wreath for Awards

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