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Vaginectomy is a surgical procedure to remove part of the entire vagina. It is usually performed as a treatment for vaginal cancer. This surgical procedure is used for small stage I or II vaginal cancer, as well as for cancers that were not cured with radiation procedures.
Vaginectomy can also be used as a part of female-to-male sex reassignment surgery. However, in the context of sex reassignment surgery, vaginectomy is a general term that describes two separate procedures: colpectomy (removal of the vaginal lining or epithelium) and colpocleisis (fusion of the vaginal walls to create support for pelvic organs). In transgender men, vaginectomy is typically performed to:
Fulfill the desire to have the vagina removed and have male-looking perineum.
Eliminate the need for Pap tests or speculum exams.
Eliminate the secretions produced by vaginal mucosa.
Whether vaginectomy is used as a treatment for vaginal cancer or as a part of male-to-female sex reassignment surgery, it is often performed in conjunction with a hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus).
The total recovery time after vaginectomy can take at least 6 weeks. During these 6 weeks, you should avoid heavy lifting and other strenuous activities. However, you may be able to return to your normal activity and work (office job) within two to four weeks. Your doctor will go over the expected recovery times and restrictions.
Vaginectomy is a safe procedure with high success rates. With the advancement of medical technology, the procedure is proven to be less risky than previously thought. However, like any surgical procedure, vaginectomy does carry some possible risks and side effects. These include anesthesia problems, intraoperative bleeding, blood clots, infection, damage to adjacent organs, and persistent pain. There is also a 5 to 10% risk of postoperative urinary tract infection as well.