Created on 20th May 2009
Cosmetic Surgery & Aesthetics Magazine continues to investigate the taboo surgical options that could transform your life
Although not widely discussed, following child birth it is believed that 1 in 3 women are left with urinary stress incontinence, over 85 per cent of women sustain some form of perineal scarring or damage and some women suffer from a widening of the vagina causing a loss of sexual gratification.
All of the above can cause a woman to feel self conscious and unhappy, often affecting the relationship with their partner. Up until now treatment options have been limited, risky and painful but now the latest and most effective procedure has arrived in the UK in the form of Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation (LVR), a new laser technology developed in the USA.
LVR is available through the UK's leading cosmetic gynaecologist, Professor Dartey, at The UK Laser Gynaecology Centre in London's Harley Street which offers women a range of procedures to repair any damage caused by child birth.
Sarah Collins, 48, from Manchester, who has undergone LVR treatment at The UK Laser Gynaecology Centre, tells Cosmetic Surgery & Aesthetics Magazine her story.
After giving birth naturally to four large babies Sarah was left with substantial damage to her vaginal muscles and tissues. She developed severe urinary stress incontinence, leaking urine every time she ran or coughed.
Her perineum also tore badly during each birth, leaving her badly scarred. "My vagina had widened so much that I was unable to feel anything during sex with my husband which was upsetting and badly affected my sex life. I spoke to my GP about all my problems and was offered surgery but after looking into the methods and risks I decided against it."
She had read about laser vaginal surgery in a magazine a couple of years ago and researched it extensively on the internet. Sarah says "I work in the medical profession and was very aware of the benefits of laser surgery over traditional scalpel methods. The fact that the healing time was so fast and the scarring so minimal convinced me that LVR was definitely the route I wanted to take."
The only thing stopping her from booking in for a consultation was that it was only available in the USA and the cost to go over there would have been too much.
In 2008 she and her husband divorced which prompted her to have treatment and resolve this problem once and for all. "I was elated to discover that Professor Dartey had brought this particular laser technique to the UK. I researched his background on the internet and immediately called The UK Laser Gynaecology Centre. I had a reassuring conversation with the nurse consultant Margaret Williams and booked in for my first consultation."
Following her first consultation in March 2008, Sarah decided to have LVR for urinary stress incontinence, a vaginal tightening and a labiaplasty. "My labia had also become so misshapen and enlarged that I no longer even felt comfortable going for a bikini wax".
Professor Phanuel Dartey, a former NHS gynaecologist who now runs the UK's only LVR Centre in London's Harley Street says, "Until recently, women have only been offered scalpel surgery for anterior and posterior vaginal repair. Scalpels cut through tissue meaning there can be up to 200ml of blood loss followed by granulation scarring. The high heat of the lasers I use evaporate tissue cells cauterising blood vessels, resulting in very little blood loss (around 5ml) and minimal, clean scarring. With such little tissue damage, the body and skin can heal faster and smoother."
The heat of the laser also kills bacteria and viruses so there is a much lower risk of infection. Another benefit of the laser is that the cutting action is very precise so there's less danger of damaging healthy tissue when dissecting. Professor Darty uses dissolvable stitches to aid healing and reduce pain and discomfort. The results are long lasting, providing the woman does not have any more vaginal births.
Sarah explains: "My operation was on a Friday in the morning. I spent approximately four hours in surgery as I had so much work to be done. When I woke up I felt fine. I had almost no bruising or discomfort. I stayed in a hotel that night with my daughter and even felt well enough to go for a walk that afternoon.
"I followed my aftercare instructions carefully, took my antibiotics and pain killers. I had to have a catheter for 48 hours after the surgery which was removed simply. I experienced minimal discomfort. My stress incontinence was cured instantly and I only took three days off work.
"The feeling of being able to fully control my bladder movement again felt fantastic. I was able to run and cough freely without a second thought. From a cosmetic point of view the change was just as amazing, I absolutely loved the way I looked down below for the first time in 20 years. I have a renewed sense of self confidence and feel like a new woman. All I need now is a new man in my life to see how it feels."
Professor Dartey says, "I meet women like Sarah every day and there is no need for them to be suffering this daily discomfort and sexual dissatisfaction. Childbirth is a beautiful thing but women should not suffer in silence if they have been unlucky enough to be damaged by it.
"Unfortunately, this type of surgery is still quite taboo in the UK and many women don't have the confidence to seek help. They are often told to practice pelvic floor exercises which will have no effect for those suffering with vaginal prolapse post childbirth.These women deserve to be able to go about daily life comfortably, they deserve to enjoy sex and feel confident about the way they look."
• Urinary Stress Incontinence is caused by a weakening of the vaginal and bladder muscles as well as damage to the tissues and ligaments supporting the bladder. This condition often stems from pregnancy or childbirth. This operation alleviates the uncontrolled leakage of urine.
• Vaginal weakness and the sensation of a wide vagina is caused by the stretching of the birth canal, which pulls the muscles apart. LVR will effectively tighten the vaginal canal by enhancing vaginal muscle tone, strength and control.
• Laser Reduction Labioplasty has been created to sculpture elongated or unequal labia minora (small inner lips) according to the patient's specification.
• Laser Perineoplasty is the aesthetic rejuvenation of the relaxed or ageing perineum. It can also enhance the sagging labia majora.
• G-Shot is a simple, non-surgical way to enlarge a women's G-spot and enhance sexual arousal and gratification, including frequency and duration of orgasms and multiple orgasms. The effects of the G-Shot can last up to four months.
Treatment: LVR procedure to treat urinary stress incontinence and widening of the vagina
Price: From £4,800
Time taken: 2 hours
Anaesthetic type: Modern general anaesthetic (TIVA)
Hospital stay: Just three hours after surgery
Available from: For further information on these life-changing procedures call 020 8232 5452 or visit www.profdartey.com