What is Cosmetic Gynecology?
After childbirth or through natural aging, many women experience changes to the appearance and function of the vaginal area. For some women, this can really impact normal life activities: exercise, wearing of tight clothing, sexual gratification, self-esteem and more.
These conditions can usually be diagnosed via a simple, yet thorough pelvic examination and remedied through minimally invasive procedures. Together, these procedures are called "Cosmetic Gynecology." Generally they can be performed with local or regional anesthesia on an out-patient basis. This allows for a fast recovery thus minimizing interference with a woman's lifestyle.
We offer a number of procedures to address these concerns and restore function. Our approach is significantly different from other "cosmetic" surgeries. Here's what is meant by some of the most common rejuvenation procedures and terms:
Vaginal Rejuvenation (Vaginoplasty) is a specialized procedure that decreases the internal and external size of the vagina while strengthening it. Often, this is combined with a treatment for stress urinary incontinence - when women experience an involuntary loss of urine with laughing, coughing sneezing or exercising.
Refers to a 'tightening' or conversely, a 'widening' of the area between the lower part of the vagina and the rectum. It is typically done in conjunction with and for the same reasons as a vaginoplasty.
Refers to surgery to close an abnormal 'hole' or communication between 2 organs, such as the bladder and the vagina ('vesicovaginal' fistula) or the rectum and the vagina ('rectovaginal' fistula'). These fistulas can be the result of a difficult and complicated labor, previous surgery, or pelvic trauma.
Labia Reduction is another specialized procedure we offer at Minnesota Women's Care - one that can really improve the quality of life for women suffering from the results of this condition. For women who experience pain when exercising or wearing tighter clothes due to the size of the labia or when childbirth has drastically impacted the appearance, this procedure can really make a difference. Labiaplasty reduces the size of the labia while also improving the shape for a more aesthetically pleasing result. The result is a more natural look without the pain or self-consciousness this condition can cause.
Labia Augmentation is requested by women who want to improve the appearance of the labia majora. The process, using fat cells from your own body, can increase the size, enhance the shape, correct symmetrical imbalances and increase firmness.
Refers to removal of excessive tissue on the sides of the vagina or revision of a scar from a previous surgery or circumcision procedure.
Refers to the resection of an abnormally developed hymenal ring, or, conversely, the 're-establishment' of a hymenal ring which has separated. The former condition typically results in severe pain since these women (usually teenagers) have an obstruction in the vaginal area causing their menstruation to 'back up'. The 're-establishment' of a separated hymenal ring is usually requested for cultural reasons.
The removal of redundant and excessive clitoral tissue. This tissue may cause discomfort, pain, and/or interfere with exercise or sexual satisfaction.
Femilift is a laser-assisted procedure designed to improve vaginal irregularities through resurfacing. It tightens the vagina and treats stress urinary incontinence. More detailed information is available here.
ThermiVa uses RF energy that gently heats tissue to restore normal tissue tone and function. (This is the same safe technology that has been used for many years in other medical applications.) ThermiVa can be used both externally and internally. When used inside the vagina, it has proven to effectively revive atrophic tissue and other structures. Read more about ThermiVa here.
Geneveve by Viveve is a treatment that uses gentle deep heating and surface cooling to stimulate the body’s natural collagen formation process. It is a comfortable, single-session, 30-minute treatment. Geneveve does not require local or topical anesthesia or analgesics and is performed by a trained healthcare professional in an outpatient setting.
The O-Shot is a non-invasive therapeutic treatment for women suffering from incontinence and anorgasmia - the inability to achieve orgasm with sexual intercourse. The treatment is an injection of platelet rich plasma around the clitoris, the urethra and vagina. It results in improved nerve and collagen growth as a result of the stimulation provided by the platelets. Often, the O-Shot is combined with Femilift or ThemiVa to get maximum results.
Information about Atrophic Vaginitis: Dry and Painful Intercourse
One of the most common complaints from women involves dry and painful intercourse. It is a common problem in postmenopausal women but can also impact women in other times of their life and for many different reasons.
We have a number of solutions we can offer to women who suffer from dry and painful intercourse. Read more about Atrophic Vaginitis here and what can be done.
What our patients say:
Dr. Ashford is the most honest and thoughtful provider I've ever worked with. He explains decision making with clarity and ease without making you feel overwhelmed or small. I'm someone with a boat load of anxiety and Dr. Ashford and the team here at MNWC are truly sensitive to my needs and want to see their patients reach their wellness goals. I'm beyond thankful and wish I could begin to describe the kind of gratitude that comes with that but for now I'd just say thank you so much!
Why do women want to have cosmetic gynecology surgery?
As we have said, a number of life events such as childbirth and aging can have an impact on the vaginal area of a woman. In addition, some women are born with anatomical differences that can impact life activities and sexual gratification.
We believe in providing a safe place for women to be able to discuss their private concerns without judgement. When non-surgical treatments can provide the proper therapeutic benefit, we will make that recommendation. When surgical treatments are required, we believe in providing the most advanced and thorough medical care available - the kind of care that takes the whole woman into perspective, not just the aesthetics.
This particular note we received online describes this woman's motivation for surgery and her experience:
Plastic Surgery vs
Many procedures fall under the category of "Cosmetic Gynecology" but most often women think of vaginal tightening or vaginal rejuvenation. When approached from a plastic surgery perspective, the surgery involves skin and some muscle tightening - similar to the kind of procedure used for a facelift or other similar surgery. Our approach is entirely different.
Women's Bodies are Complex
The structure of a woman's pelvic area is a complex network of nerves, muscles, and connective tissue unlike any other. When rejuvenation is approached simply from an aesthetic perspective, it does not take into account other muscle and nerve issues that may be impacting the woman's life - such as her ability to have a sexually rewarding relationship with her partner.
Dr. Ashford's training and experience as a Pelvic Reconstruction Surgeon (board-certified urogynecologist) makes him uniquely qualified to make repairs and to rejuvenate with a comprehensive understanding of the unique physiology of a woman's anatomy. Dr. Ashford is focused on the resulting functionality. This means that additional therapies are integrated into the care plan when needed so the rejuvenation takes everything into consideration: tightening, muscle strengthening and nerve improvement. It is the most comprehensive approach to Cosmetic Gynecology available in the Twin Cities.
A note from one of our patients:
"Dr. Ashford is an exceptional doctor with an excellent bedside manner. As a female looking for vaginal rejuvenation after three pregnancies, the thought of being examined by any doctor made me anxious. However, Dr. Ashford has such a calm & caring bedside manner that he quickly put my worries at ease, and I was able to open up with all my concerns with his genuine interest in my overall health.
I first learned about Dr. Ashford when I researched the top Minnesota surgeons and his name was among them. I live 2 1/2 hours away from his office, but the drive is well worth his expertise and the friendliness of his staff is second to none.
I admire how Dr. Ashford truly listens and remains an active partner throughout the entire process. He even called me at home the day after my procedure to personally check up on me and my comfort level.
I am incredibly happy with my overall results & my confidence in myself has grown as well. There is no doubt in my mind that this procedure is worth it!!! As a result of Dr. Ashford taking the necessary time to ensure my needs, concerns, and questions were fully met prior to my procedures, I had an incredibly positive experience from the start to the very end. Thank you, Dr. Ashford, for using your talents to improve the lives of others!!! You are exceptional!!!"
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