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Vaginal Obliteration

vaginal rejuvenation

You’ve just been informed that you need a procedure called vaginal obliteration. If anything your doctor said after that became a buzzing jumble of words in your head, you’re not alone. The word ‘obliteration’ probably conjured up images of a bad war or alien invasion movie that left the earth a wasteland, and you may be picturing a similar, raw gaping devastation somewhere in the lower region of your body. This is not the case at all.

What is Vaginal Obliteration?

Simply explained, vaginal obliteration is closure of the vagina. It is all done internally and leaves no visual evidence on a woman’s outer body. It is a quick, safe and fairly simple surgery that our Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeons (FPMRS) are highly qualified to perform due to their combined decades of experience here at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists.

The female body is capable of many miracles. Not only can you reproduce human life in approximately 280 days, but you are capable of sustaining and nourishing that life from the moment of its conception, and for long after its entrance into the world.

Though they can be unusually resilient, and capable of performing this process over and over again, your reproductive organs are still only made of tissue, muscle, fiber, cartilage and bone, all of which is vulnerable to wear and tear over time. The same way the framework and internal parts of a car become dented, sluggish, loose, leaky, and damaged from years of constant use, the complicated parts of your pelvic structure may eventually become compromised. They are exposed to various traumas throughout your childbearing years, into menopause and beyond, especially if you have given birth several times or have had multiple births.

Just like that vehicle, your body may begin to need regular maintenance, and may also need repair if the damage becomes severe. In cases where the internal organs of the reproductive system begin to shift or droop drastically, and all other measures have failed or are deemed ineffective, vaginal obliteration may help you.

Who is a Candidate for Vaginal Obliteration?

This procedure is usually reserved for women who are older, who are no longer engaged in sexual activity, and who suffer from:

  • Pelvic organ prolapse (POP): This occurs when pelvic organs such as your bladder, uterus, or vagina shift from place to push against the vaginal wall.
  • Uterine prolapse: Uterine prolapse happens when the weakened support system of the uterus causes it to shift into the birth canal or vagina.
  • Vaginal vault prolapse: The upper part of the vagina has either dropped into, or protrudes out of the vaginal canal.

Because this is a brief and safe procedure, it is ideal for women who suffer from chronic conditions such as heart disease or asthma, and are unable to undergo prolonged surgery due to possible risk factors.

Your doctor may also perform a pap smear before your surgery date to insure that all is well. Afterwards, ultrasonic assessment will be done in place of a routine smear. If you have had abnormal pap smear results in the past, it is important that you discuss this with your doctor.

How is Vaginal Obliteration Performed?

You will be given either a regional, general or local anesthetic depending on the complexity of the procedure. After numbing has taken place, the surgeon will then remove the entire vaginal lining (vaginal epithelium) leaving approximately 1 to 1 ½ inches. When this is completed, the vagina will be sutured shut (total colpocleisis).

If your uterus is still intact, a small opening will be left to accommodate drainage of any fluids from the uterus (Le Fort procedure).

Sometimes, women who require vaginal obliteration surgery suffer from urinary incontinence as well, and this problem can be corrected at the same time.

Immediately after surgery, you will be on intravenous fluids and a catheter. The catheter will be removed after 24 to 48 hours and you will be able to urinate on your own from then on. This surgery does not affect your ability to pass urine, since entry to the bladder is located above the vaginal opening.

You will also be given compression stockings to avoid any risk of clots in your blood vessels that could travel to your heart or lungs. This is a precaution that is taken with most surgeries.

What About Having Sex After the Surgery?

No. Because the vagina will be closed permanently, this surgery is only usually recommended for older women who are no longer engaged in sexual activity, or for those who don’t foresee having intercourse in the future.

What is the Recovery Time?

Recovery times vary from patient to patient, but usually, vaginal obliteration requires one or two days of hospitalization. It is recommended that you avoid strenuous activity or exercise for one or two weeks after the procedure, increasing both very gradually afterwards until about 4 to 6 weeks have passed, after which you can usually resume your regular lifestyle.

You should try to drink plenty of water and eat a diet high in fiber to avoid constipation.

Are There Any Risks With Vaginal Obliteration?

As you’ve probably heard, there are risks involved with any surgery, but vaginal obliteration is a quick, safe and effective procedure and complications are uncommon, with a high 90 to 95 % success rate.

You may notice a white or creamy discharge for up to six weeks after surgery. This is nothing to worry about. This occurs because there are stitches in the vagina. As these stitches dissolve, the discharge will become more minimal until it disappears altogether.

Discharge stained with some brownish blood may also appear immediately, or even a week after the procedure. There is no need for concern as this is the body’s natural way of breaking down any blood trapped under the skin. However, you should contact your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Foul smelling discharge
  • Fever
  • Pelvic pain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Abnormally frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain or burning upon urination (urinary tract, bladder, pelvic or vaginal infections sometimes occur in a very small percentage of women after vaginal obliteration, but are easily treatable).

There is no need for postmenopausal or older women to suffer with the pain and discomfort associated with the various symptoms that vaginal obliteration can easily repair. If you have questions or would like to make an appointment with one of our specialists, call 770.720.7733.