ThermiVa for Vaginal Tightening – New Technology Overview
One must understand that procedures for “vaginal tightening” are rapidly growing and pardon the phrase, but “everyone is trying to jump on the bandwagon!” ThermiVa, MonaLisa, and FemiLift are new technologies that have just been recently cleared or approved by the FDA and I have seen advertisements claiming to “tighten the vagina”, “improve urinary stress incontinence (bladder leakage)”, “reduce vaginal dryness” and “improve a woman’s orgasm.” However, as a gynecologist who has been practicing for 25 years and specializes in cosmetic-plastic gynecology, I must emphasize that this procedure can be effective on the right candidate. It is not going to solve the problems of a woman who needs pelvic floor reconstructive surgery or is unlikely to make a woman orgasm after suffering from dyspareunia (painful intercourse) for years. One must be examined by a gynecologist, who preferably offers both surgical and non-surgical options; to decide what would be the most beneficial procedure based on her needs and clinical exam. A gynecologist knows and understands the anatomy of the internal and external female genitalia. Again, I do believe that ThermiVa can be a very beneficial procedure when performed correctly and on a good candidate based on her symptoms and gynecological examination.
With that being said, let me explain the science behind these new technologies. ThermiVa uses radio-frequency energy (RF) to generate a heat to cause thermal damage thus stimulating the body to remodel or generate new collagen production as part of the natural healing process. The process of neocollagenesis (collagen remodeling) tightens and improves skin tone and laxity (looseness) over a period of approximately 6 months with results that can be long lasting. ThermiVa delivers the RF energy through a curved wand that is the size of your index finger. A heat sensor is located on the tip of the wand and the temperatures of your internal and external genitalia are monitored closely throughout the procedure. The procedure takes approximately 45 minutes, is comfortable to the patient and has no downtime. Patients come into my office, listen to music or chat with my staff and I during the entire procedure and drive home to return to their normal activities. Three treatments are recommended at 4 week intervals. Radio-frequency energy has been a gold standard for skin tightening procedures. I have been using Thermage and Skinfinity RF, in my practice for years to improve facial laxity and improve tone on other body areas such as the belly after birth with good outcomes. I must say, that with the proper patient selection, ThermiVa has been successful. Most of my patients are seeing some improvement after their first treatment and significant improvement after the final treatment. The results last approximately one year according to the manufacturer, but I will evaluate that with my own patient population as we monitor their progress. I have advised my patients that a single “touch-up” treatment may be necessary after one year to maintain their results.
As far as FemiLift and MonaLisa, they are based on laser energy to stimulate collagen production by creating minor injuries in the vaginal mucosa to tighten the vagina and improve vaginal moisture.
This is an exciting time in the field of cosmetic-plastic gynecology. Always consult with a gynecologist who specializes in cosmetic-plastic gynecology, do your research and be comfortable with your decisions.
Dr. John Serrao
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