COOPER: All right, from the science of love to a surgery for better sex. A surprising cosmetic procedure that some women believe give them self-esteem and may jumpstart their sex lives.
Dr. Troy Robbin Hailparn of the Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute of San Antonio being interviewed by Randi Kaye of CNN on Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation, Labioplasty and Hymenoplasty. The story aired on the Anderson Cooper 360° show on Valentine's Day 2006
COOPER: Well, I just want to warn you at home, this is an explicit story and not appropriate for very young viewers. I'm telling you that now so you have a couple moments to ask them to maybe go to their rooms.
This year alone, nearly 11 million women will have plastic surgery in the United States. The most popular cosmetic procedures will be the usual suspects, liposuction, breast implants, face lifts. But there is another operation that is becoming increasingly well known. Its aim is to improve women's sex lives. It is highly controversial. CNN's Randi Kaye investigates.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jeanette and Louis Yarborough have been married nearly two decades. They fell fast for each other. And soon had two daughters. Two daughters, and yet at age 38, Jeanette says she lost her virginity all over again.
JEANETTE YARBOROUGH, HAD VAGINAL REJUVENATION SURGERY: There'll be another gift in his life that he can never say tops it. No matter how old we go, no matter 50th anniversary.
KAYE: Today, her husband calls it an amazing gift. What started out as a medical issue, turned into something more. Jeanette had bigger plans. This is what happened.
After her second child, Jeanette experienced some common post- delivery complications, which she lived with for years. Jeanette's OB-GYN, Dr. Troy Robbin Hailparn.
DR. TROY ROBBIN HAILPARN, COSMETIC GYNECOLOGIST: This is a pelvic model. What happens with childbirth, is you get a lateral stretch at the opening, a lateral stretch of the back wall, and a lateral stretch of the front wall.
KAYE: The condition affected Jeanette's bladder and would often cause her embarrassment. It affected her self-esteem; and certainly, her sex life.
YARBOROUGH: It got to a point where if I could avoid it, I would. I was never in the mood anymore.
KAYE: But she lived with it for years, in fact. Until 18 months ago when Jeanette had corrective surgery. And that's when Jeanette decided to go one step further.
YARBOROUGH: I thought, I'm going to restore my hymen. And Louis was even surprised. He gave me that look of, what?
KAYE: As an anniversary gift to her husband, Louis, Jeanette paid to have her vaginal canal tightened. And more. She also had her hymen reattached, hymen restoration. (hymenoplasty, hymen reconstruction).
KAYE: So is this revirgination?
HAILPARN: To a degree. If a woman has the hymen replaced and the vaginal canal tightened, then in fact it is an unused vaginal canal with a gate and so you could then consider this woman a virgin in that regard.
KAYE: What did Jeanette's husband think of all this?
LOUIS YARBOROUGH, WIFE HAD VAGINAL REJUVENATION SURGERY: I said, you don't really need to go through all the other stuff, because that's going to be a lot more pain and, you know, healing and recovery time.
KAYE: But in all honesty, you did stand to benefit from the cosmetic part of this procedure?
L. YARBOROUGH: Oh yes.
KAYE: Let's be honest.
L. YARBOROUGH: I did. Yes. I stand to benefit a lot.
KAYE: For Jeanette, surgery to stop those embarrassing moments was medically elective, but she felt necessary. The sexual restoration -- some might call it vaginal vanity.
(On camera): There are no hard numbers yet, but the demand for designer vaginas is on the rise, which keeps Dr. Hailparn busy in the operating rooms. In the last year, the number of labia reductions she performed tripled. The demand for vaginal tightening procedures doubled.
(Voice-over): Jeanette says some women even bring the doctor pictures from graphic men's magazines.
YARBOROUGH: Do you see the way that vagina looks? I'd like to look like that.
KAYE: But New York OB-GYN, Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, thinks society's gone crazy. She calls vaginal rejuvenation insulting and irresponsible.
DR. HILDA HUTCHERSON, GYNECOLOGIST: Why is it that we as women feel that we have to live up to some ideal?
KAYE: Some gynecologists, including Hutcherson, call hymen replacement a bogus procedure. Feminist groups call it genital mutilation.
HUTCHERSON: It's bad enough that we have to get collagen and all kinds of things injected into our faces so that we don't have wrinkles. We have to get our breast altered to look like a Barbie doll. When does it end? Now, our vagina has to look a certain way.
HAILPARN: There is nothing mutilating about recreating a piece of tissue.
KAYE: Dr. Hailparn, who says she's done hundreds of these surgeries, insists, though hardly lifesaving, they have saved marriages. Many patients have written glowing testimonials.
Thirty-two-year-old Sandra Karaz has a different medical condition. Besides embarrassment, she has pain. She's married, with a baby girl, and looking to have vaginal rejuvenation and a cosmetic gynecology procedure called labiaplasty for a different medical condition. For her, sex is sometimes painful.
SANDRA KARAZ, CONSIDERING SURGERY: I have had a problem with the labia being a little too large.
KAYE: For years, Sandra experienced discomfort with certain cuts of clothing. During intercourse, she's felt pain to a point where she says she's so insecure about her appearance, she turns the lights off when making love to her husband.
KARAZ: It just makes you feel bad. It makes you feel like something's wrong with you. And I think over time, you start to get a little depressed about it and feel like you're ugly because you're not looking like what you think you should look like.
KAYE: So where does cosmetic surgery end? How many 40-year-old virgins might be created? Breast enhancement, liposuction, revirginization, what's next?
HAILPARN: I don't know what's next, but I do know that it's very important to listen to the needs of the women that we're taking care of.
KAYE (on camera): How much did you pay for the surgery?
L. YARBOROUGH: $12,000.
KAYE: $12,000. That's a hefty price for good loving.
YARBOROUGH: Well, it's not really one night. You're talking about an investment of a future together.
KAYE (voice-over): It's an investment and a gift which has restored, among other things, their relationship and Jeanette's self- esteem.
Randi Kaye, CNN, San Antonio, Texas. (END VIDEOTAPE)
Dr. Troy Robbin Hailparn is one of the most experienced female Board-Certified OB-GYNs in the U.S. trained in Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation and Laser Reduction Labioplasty. She is Medical Director of the Cosmetic Gynecology Center of San Antonio (formerly the Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute of San Antonio). She has performed over 3,500 vaginal rejuvenation, labiaplasty and other cosmetic gynecology procedures since 2003. To contact the Cosmetic Gynecology Center of San Antonio, call 210-615-6646 or use our contact form. We're happy to answer your questions or help you book a consultation with Dr. Hailparn.
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