Female rejuvenation includes a range of functional and aesthetic procedures in the female genital region. Therapies are aimed at correcting and restoring the vagina’s structural form and surrounding tissues and improving the vaginal mucosa’s hydration and elasticity, says Bruce Katz, M.D., director of JUVA Skin and Laser Center, New York, N.Y., a proponent of these procedures and whose practice offers them.
It’s estimated that more than 50% of the female population over age 50 has some degree of uterine prolapse or pelvic organ prolapse.1 Almost all post-menopausal women have vaginal atrophy, dryness, and dyspareunia and other symptoms associated with menopause. An estimated 15 million women suffer from stress urinary incontinence.2 Almost all women have some degree of vaginal laxity after bearing children.
“All of these women could potentially benefit from non-invasive vaginal rejuvenation procedures,” says Min-Wei Christine Lee, M.D., M.P.H., dermatologic surgeon and director, The Skin and Laser Treatment Institute, Walnut Creek, Calif.
According to an unpublished pilot study at Dr. Katz’s institution, of the women who are getting female rejuvenation procedures, 56% are aged 50 to 59, 22% are aged 40 to 49, 11% are aged 30 to 39, and 11% are aged 20 to 29.
Pointing out that 22% of the women getting the procedure are under age 40, Dr. Katz notes that it’s not just a treatment for pre- and post- menopausal women.
“It’s often used after childbirth when tissues become stretched,” he says. “This can result in loss of self-confidence, reduced participation in exercise, loss of sexual interest or desire, and disturbed interpersonal relationships.”
A logical therapeutic addition
Dr. Katz’s large laser center is equipped with 45 lasers, so adding female rejuvenation procedures to its menu was a logical decision.
“We already used laser technology for other areas of the body, such as eliminating wrinkles and rejuvenating the face, neck, chest, and hands and are very comfortable using it,” he says. “We mostly treat women in our practice, performing cosmetic dermatology and cosmetic laser surgery, and this was another facet to help women make improvements functionally and aesthetically.
The scope of the procedures performed at JUVA Skin and Laser Center include using the FemiLift (Alma Lasers) to treat tissues internally to improve atrophy, tighten vaginal skin, improve vaginal lubrication, and treat stress urinary incontinence.
The ThermiVa (Thermi) radio frequency device is used to treat tissues internally as well, and also externally for vulva laxity, tightening of vaginal tissue for aesthetic purposes, and increased hydration in the vaginal mucosa.
Dr. Katz says the procedure improves lubrication because it improves blood supply to the tissues. Combined with improving the elasticity of the vaginal muscles, women who have had the procedure report having intensified orgasms.
Dr. Katz is a proponent of female rejuvenation procedures because they are minimally invasive, safe, and have no downtime.
“We can help women with these issues that in the past could only be addressed with surgery, Kegel exercises, or electric stimulation, with the latter two not helping much,” he says.
Regarding malpractice, he doesn’t see any potential risks as there have been no significant side effects from the procedures.
“Learning to use the FemiLift laser is fairly easy,” Dr. Katz says. In fact, he doesn’t actually perform the procedures, rather a nurse practitioner trained in gynecology does them.