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Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery – Repair vs. Aesthetics

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At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, we offer women the most modern, up-to-date solutions to gynecological problems that were formerly considered almost impossible to treat. Our OB/GYNs, urogynecologists, and Female Pelvic Medicine and Reproductive Surgeons are trained and credentialed to perform the many highly specialized cosmetic GYN and reconstructive procedures that can dramatically change women’s lives and boost their psychological outlook.

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Since the beginning of time, women have strived for ultimate beauty, perfect body symmetry and feminine wellness. Similarly, the world of medicine has dedicated itself to studying and repairing human anatomy, and to provide and maintain optimum overall health. It was inevitable that this combination would ultimately lead to a branch of medicine focused solely on women’s unique medical and cosmetic pelvic health issues.

From the time of the misguided, but well-intentioned Hippocrates, who believed in using a pomegranate as a pessary to cure prolapse, doctors have dissected, analyzed, and tried to understand the all-important female reproductive system, not just to insure the future of mankind, but to alleviate and correct those gender-specific disorders.

Eventually, as medical knowledge evolved, specialties such as gynecology, obstetrics, and urogynecology emerged. However, it wasn’t until 2014 that cosmetic and reconstructive surgery combined into a recognized and accredited field called Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS). This subspecialty satisfied women’s dual concerns of both repair and cosmetically improved genital appearance without the need to see several different doctors for each individual requirement.

Today, complete hysterectomies and other radical surgeries are no longer the all-in-one solution to many of the pelvic health problems women encounter throughout their lifetimes. The days of dangerous, invasive surgeries that resulted in disfiguring scars and months of recuperation and rehabilitation are slowly being left behind in the last century where they belong.

Yet many women, especially older ones, are unaware of the many options available to them today. They suffer needlessly, assuming their disorders are simply something they must learn to live with. They shyly excuse themselves to leave a room to change an adult diaper, or to push back something that might be peeking out from their private areas, not realizing that a simple surgery with minimal scarring and recovery time is available and can easily correct the problem. Others are hesitant to indulge in sexual intimacy because they’re concerned their partner may find a particular irregularity distasteful.

What is the Difference Between Pelvic Cosmetic and Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery?

Cosmetic surgery is usually an elective procedure to correct physical flaws, irregularities or deformities, and is not typically done out of necessity, but more to improve appearance and elevate self-confidence. It can also reverse many physical age-related effects, providing a more youthful rejuvenation to the area.

Reconstructive surgery is done for medical, and sometimes life threatening issues. It corrects damage to the pelvic area, and usually restores function, stability, sensation, and position, reverting the reproductive system to its pre-trauma state.

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Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgeries

There are a number of different procedures available to you for both physical wellness and aesthetic benefits.

Cosmetic Surgeries include:

  • Vaginal rejuvenation (vaginoplasty): Vaginoplasty is a blanket term that encompasses several different procedures, both reconstructive and cosmetic. Cosmetically speaking, however, one of the procedures of vaginoplasty is vaginal rejuvenation which tightens, modifies, and/or reforms the shape of the vaginal tissue to achieve a younger appearance and ‘feel’. It can be described as a face lift of sorts for a woman’s genitals.
  • Labiaplasty: Labiaplasty reduces the size of the labia—usually the labia minora. If you have large or saggy labia, or are uncomfortable with any bulging that may show through tighter clothing, labiaplasty can give that area a trimmer appearance.

Reconstructive surgeries include:

Midurethral slings: This procedure quickly, easily and effectively corrects the problem of stress urinary incontinence, which is involuntary urine leakage when you cough, sneeze or laugh. Urinary incontinence may also occur during different activities. This is an outpatient procedure that can be completed in approximately 30 minutes.

Colposuspension: Used to treat stress urinary incontinence as well, colposuspension is a surgical procedure that requires restoring the shifted or fallen vagina to its original location. This can either be done by laparoscopic technique or via abdominal incision.

Posterior/anterior colporrhaphy: This vaginal wall defect repair corrects any protrusion of the bladder into the vagina (cystocele) or the rectum into the anus (rectocele). Both these problems are known as pelvic organ prolapse (POP), meaning organs are drooping from their regular place in the pelvic vault. POP can cause pelvic pain and pressure, vaginal bleeding, painful intercourse, back pain, bowel movement problems and incontinence.

Perineoplasty: Though usually considered a reconstructive procedure, perineoplasty can also be cosmetic in the case of a deformed perineum. Perineoplasty corrects damage and defect in the perineum, the triangular section located between the anus and vagina, and serves an important role as a structural support for several reproductive organs. Typically, it can become impaired through childbirth, episiotomy, obesity or excess weight loss. Perineoplasty can correct issues such as scarring, excess skin, reduction in sexual pleasure, and can restore support to internal organs.

Hymenoplasty: Though this usually involves cosmetic restoration or creation of the ‘virginal’ tissue that may have been non-existent from birth, lost through trauma, sexual intercourse or other forms of rupture, hymenoplasty can also correct conditions such as imperforate, septate or microperforate hymen that can make intercourse, menstruation or tampon insertion difficult or impossible without surgical intervention.

Monsplasty (pubic lift): Reduces, tightens or lifts the pubic mound located just under your abdomen for a more feminine look.

Clitoral hood reduction: A thick or prominent clitoral hood may inhibit sensation and diminish sexual pleasure. A clitoral hood reduction can alleviate extreme discomfort, redness or irritation that can possibly lead to infection from constant chafing against clothing. Often, this procedure is accompanied by labiaplasty to shorten the vagina.

Can Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery also be Cosmetically Beneficial?

It certainly can! While repairing damage that requires necessary tightening or trimming, reconstructive surgery can also automatically provide a more visually appealing and youthful look. Also, in many cases, as reconstructive surgery is being performed, an elective cosmetic procedure can be done simultaneously as well.

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Non-Surgical Treatments

O-shot: The Orgasm Shot® (O-Shot®) is a treatment to enhance sexual pleasure, thus making it beneficial physically. The O-shot can be administered by our pelvic health physicians.

ThermiVa: ThermiVa is a completely non-invasive, nonsurgical, drug and hormone- free vaginal rejuvenation treatment that restores vaginal health in many beneficial ways. Though it cannot actually be classified as ‘reconstructive’ in a surgical sense, temperature controlled heat administered via radio frequency energy rejuvenates interior and exterior vaginal tissue by stimulating new collagen growth. This process revitalizes the vagina to much of its former condition by reducing discomfort, providing lubrication, and eliminating laxity. ThermiVa can also correct incontinence and deliver support to the bladder, correcting many disorders caused by natural aging and childbirth, with added aesthetic advantages.

Surgery Methods and Recovery Time and

  • Robotic surgery: This is a minimally invasive surgery that implements the use of a robotic arm to perform corrective surgery for such problems as pelvic cancerous tumors, fibroids, obstructions and masses. It is also used to ease pelvic pain and bleeding, and to rectify pelvic, rectal, vaginal vault and uterine prolapse. Today’s robotic surgery, under the practiced guidance of a specialist, can perform hysterectomies and endometrial excisions and resections. Due to its precision, robotic surgery offers wonderful benefits such as almost insignificant scarring, minimal discomfort or pain, rapid recovery, and less danger of infection.
  • Laparoscopic and single incision laparoscopic surgery: Apart from being a wonderful diagnostic tool, laparoscopy can correct many pelvic problems. A thin tube that is equipped with a light can be inserted into the body to probe for the cause of various problems within the reproductive system. It can also remove cysts, tumors, scarring (adhesions) and fibroids, as well as perform hysterectomies and tubal ligations. Laparoscopic surgery and can correct disorders such as incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, leaves insignificant scarring, and allows for a much shorter recovery time with less risk of infection.

Because of the less invasive methods we use today, like robotic and laser surgery, the recovery time is far shorter than most women may imagine. Recovery times vary depending on the extent of the surgery. Your doctor will always provide you with aftercare instructions and any special precautions you may need to take.

The days of heavy handed scalpel wielding are becoming a thing of the past, giving way to treatments that were beyond our scope of imagination even 20 years ago. By today’s standards, yesterday’s methods seem almost barbaric in comparison. Yet many woman are still convinced that they are destined to endure the discomfort and changes Mother Nature sends their way, convinced that it is their destiny, or just a result of passing years.

In this day and age of open, frank, and honest dialogue, the word “vagina’ does not have to be whispered. Sex is no longer a marital ‘duty’ explained on the night prior to your wedding, but is a pleasurable experience you have every right to participate in and enjoy without discomfort or embarrassment. Nor is it a taboo subject to consider a lift, tuck, tightening or trim to an intimate zone if that change can allow you more self-confidence, less inhibition and additional ‘feel-good’ sensation.

Cherokee Women’s Health – The Female Health Experts

We offer the physical, psychological, aesthetic and therapeutic means for you to achieve and maintain optimum pelvic health and confidence. At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, we not only listen and guide you in confidential privacy, but also communicate vital information regarding genital heath in public forums like Realself.com, so that you can always be informed and make knowledgeable choices regarding your body.

The procedures covered in this article are only a partial and generalized list of the many various services we offer. The pelvic structure is a complicated myriad of bone, tissue, fiber, blood, organs, and cartilage, and the possible problems that can affect your wellness are equally complex. That is why we treat each person who comes to us with the individual attention their personal issues deserve.

If you have additional questions on cosmetic GYN or reconstructive surgery, or to book an appointment, call 770.720.7733 or request an appointment online.