Vaginal tissues, like skin, are made up of collagen fibers. And just like skin, vaginal laxity is a real concern. Women may be embarrassed talking about it, but its impact affects not just their sexual satisfaction but their overall quality of life as well. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore, with non-surgical vaginal treatment as an option.
How Does Viveve Treat Vaginal Laxity?
Vaginal laxity happens when the introitus or vaginal opening collagen tissue loses some of its resilience and contractility either due to vaginal childbirth and subsequent deliveries, advanced age, or sexual activities.
But many women may not be able to articulate their concerns about these issues, or even if they do, may feel embarrassed about bringing up the topic. As a result, few women are aware that they several vaginal non-surgical treatment options to choose from.
Viveve makes those choices within easy reach. Using low temperature heat generated by radio frequency energy, the Viveve treatment is not just cosmetic; it actually restores damaged collagen at the cellular level so there is increased tightness and enhanced vaginal sensitivity.
How Does Viveve Work?
Viveve is a non-surgical vaginal tightening treatment done in a doctor’s office on an outpatient basis without using anesthesia. The procedure lasts 30 minutes, and performed in horseshoe-type pattern inside the hymenal ring in an 8-second sequence of cooling, heating and cooling. The typical patient experience is only warming and cooling, but no pain.
The Viveve system is made up of a generator and handpiece that uses patented, monopolar radiofrequency energy that generates low temperature heat. The treatment tip, which monitors treatment data and regulates the application of RF energy, is single-use. There is little to no downtime, so you can assume normal activities afterwards.
How Effective is Viveve?
Two clinical studies have already been conducted to measure Viveve’s effectiveness in restoring vaginal tightness to pre-childbirth levels. At 12 months after treatment, 88% of women participants reported improved and sustained vaginal tightness.
Women who received treatment experienced 68% mean increase in their vaginal laxity scores at 12 months. Sexual satisfaction was also maintained through 12 months after treatment. In either study, no serious side effects have been reported.
Alternative Vaginal Tightening Procedure
In the past, the only non-invasive option to treat vaginal laxity is Kegel exercises. Kegel exercises, however, target the pelvic floor, that group of muscles that enable you to stop and start urinating. Kegel exercises do not address introital laxity.
An advanced yet invasive option is vaginoplasty procedure that involves surgery done to the vagina, vulva (the labia and other external anatomy) and related structures. Often, the results are solely aesthetic; while many surgeons claim that vaginoplasty improves sensitivity, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has strongly challenged that claim.
Are There Other Non-Invasive Vaginal Laxity Treatment?
A less invasive alternative is laser vaginal rejuvenation (LVR), a surgical procedure done under anesthesia. Studies have shown that LVR restores vaginal tightness and aesthetics, improves muscle tone, and enhances sexual function and satisfaction.
Like surgery, it has also significant drawbacks such as vagina tightening cost(which can get expensive) and complications like bladder injury, excessive bleeding, infection as well as loss of clitoral sensation and potential scarring. Recovery time is 5-6 days, and some patients experience swelling, bruising and pain.
Other treatments for vaginal tightening without surgery use Er:YAG(erbium-doped yttrium aluminium garnet) and CO2 (carbon dioxide) laser. The Er:YAG laser requires 2 treatments spaced about 15-30 days apart. Like Viveve, there is no anesthesia required as the non-ablative laser pulses to heat the collagen in the vaginal tissues, resulting to tightening of vaginal walls.
Carbon dioxide laser has been used for decades to treat wrinkles, sun exposure, and acne. Today, it is applied as a non-invasive laser treatment that heats vaginal tissues to tighten it. Virtually painless and anesthesia-free, CO2 lasers are done in one 30-minute session.
While the aim is to tighten the vagina, the CO2 laser appears to address vaginal dryness, urinary burning, and itching. There are no extensive clinical studies done on CO2 lasers in terms of their effectiveness in treating vaginal laxity.
Viveve vs. ThermiVa
Like Viveve, ThermiVa treatments use radiofrequency energy to gently heat tissue and consequently rejuvenate collagen. There is no anesthesia, discomfort or downtime. ThermiVa uses a unipolar radiofrequency device that has FDA clearance for dermatologic use. As a non-invasive feminine rejuvenation device, ThermiVa awaits FDA approval.
ThermiVa employs a single-use treatment tip that is applied to vulvovaginal area to treat vulvar sagging, vaginal laxity, atrophic vaginitis, overactive bladder, and orgasmic dysfunctions.There is a total of 3 treatments, with some improvement visible after the first session. ThermiVa is performed in a medical aesthetic clinic on an outpatient basis.
The creators of Thermiva have extensive documentation of the results of the treatments both from patient testimonials and physician examination.Clinical studies by independent researchers are yet to be conducted.
Monopolar vs. Bipolar RF device
Monopolar RF is applied with one active electrode and one return electrode. Unipolar RF utilizes just a single electrode.
In laser clinics in Singapore, monopolar delivery of RF requires application of a single electrode to the treated area while the opposing electrode is far removed so that the tissue is heated deeply, at up to 20 mm. and intensely.
Bipolar RF delivery, on the other hand, involves putting two closely positioned electrodes to the treated area. The electric current that flows between these two electrodes is small and shallow as compared to the monopolar RF delivery. While the bipolar RF procedures are generally gentler than monopolar, the localized heat injury is only up to 4mm deep.
The surface layer of the skin can be cooled with a cryogenic spray to avoid burns. In an aesthetic clinic in Orchard area, a monopolar RF handpiece is moved around in 8-second intervals to prevent burning of the skin. Because the localized heat injury includes not only the dermis but also the subdermal layer and even the subcutaneous fat, skin firming happens deep down at the cellular level.