How does Viveve work?
How Does Viveve Work?
Viveve is a painless, nonsurgical treatment which enhances vaginal tone, elasticity and blood flow. After pregnancy, childbirth, or hormonal changes, women can experience problems with vaginal laxity, urinary leakage, discomfort with sexual intercourse, or lack of adequate sensation with intercourse. Viveve stimulates the production of high-quality collagen and elastin at the opening of the vagina and in the vaginal walls, enhancing sexual satisfaction and decreasing urinary leakage. This can dramatically improve quality of life for many women.
Viveve works by delivering radiofrequency energy to the vaginal tissue, especially to the area around the opening of the vagina. Radiofrequency energy has been used for decades in dermatologic procedures, to lift and tighten sagging skin on the face and neck. By gently heating the tissue, it sets off a wound healing cascade that not only brings nutrients and a healthy blood supply to the tissue, but also kicks up the production of collagen and elastin. The effect is not only improved sensation and lubrication with intercourse, but also better urinary control. When tissue treated with Viveve was studied under a microscope, there was an increased number of fibroblasts (cells that make collagen and elastin), more abundant and stronger collagen bonds, and growth of blood vessels and nerves. Clinical studies demonstrated increased sexual satisfaction and less pad usage.
What is the Difference between Viveve and Laser Treatments?
At Women’s Urology New York, we offer Viveve because it is a safe and effective nonsurgical treatment which is truly painless, and it can be performed in just one session. Laser treatments are similar in that they gently heat the tissue to promote collagen growth, but they do not achieve the same depth of penetration as radiofrequency energy, and they can be quite painful.
The second benefit to Viveve is that it only requires one treatment to achieve optimal results, while laser treatments typically require three separate sessions. The predecessor radiofrequency treatment, Thermiva, also requires 3 separate sessions to accomplish the tissue remodeling that Viveve can accomplish in one session. The reason for this is that Viveve has a unique cooling mechanism that allows the energy to penetrate deep into the connective tissue without overheating the surface skin. This enables women to receive the full treatment in one longer session instead of dividing the treatments into 3 shorter ones.
The third benefit to Viveve is that it is remarkably painless. The tip of the probe is cooled with cryogen, so women do not feel any heat in the vagina or discomfort during the procedure. Some warmth or coolness from the cryogen or the lubricating gel may be felt. We also use a grounding pad, which is square shaped sticker placed on the thigh, and some warmth may also be felt there, but it is not bothersome. Other procedures require numbing cream at minimum, and some women also need to take pain medication just prior.
What is the Procedure Like?
There is no need for any preparation prior to the procedure. You can eat, drink, go to work, and do all your normal activities that day. When the procedure is scheduled, we will choose a day you are not expected to be menstruating. We advise you call the office if you feel you have a urinary or vaginal infection in the few days prior, and we will check a pregnancy test in the office immediately prior to the procedure to make sure you are not pregnant. When you come to the procedure room, you will change into a gown and be positioned on the table like you would for a gynecologic exam. We ensure you are comfortable, and you can choose to relax and play music or watch a show, enjoy some quiet time, or chat with Dr. Angelish Kumar during the procedure.
A probe the size of a thumb is then inserted in the vagina with a lubricant jelly. The probe is rotated slowly to apply the radiofrequency energy to the entrance of the vagina as well as 2-3 cm inside the vaginal canal. The procedure lasts for about 40 minutes, and once it is finished you can get dressed and go back to work, go home, or do whatever activity you have planned for the rest of the day. You do not need anyone to escort you home. You should plan to be in the office for about 1 hour in total.
What Results Should be Expected?
Results are progressive over the course of one to three months, as the natural collagen deposition and increased blood flow and thickness of the tissue develops over weeks. Women should notice increased tone, improved sensitivity, better lubrication, higher satisfaction with intercourse, and an improvement in stress incontinence. Some women notice their symptoms start to come back in 12-18 months and feel they benefit from doing Viveve again. Whether you need to repeat it in 1-2 years can depend on age, pregnancy status, activities, and the symptoms you are experiencing.
What Else Should I Know?
Viveve is an intimate procedure, so it is important to have it done with a doctor who you trust, and who is knowledgeable about women’s genitourinary health. If you are suffering from vaginal laxity, pain, or urinary issues, you should see a doctor who is trained in the full spectrum of options, and who understands the use of energy-based devices in the context of all the available treatments. It is necessary to have a physical exam to make sure you are a good candidate for the treatment. You may also benefit from pelvic floor exercises, treatment with topical or oral medication, and other therapies aimed at restoring the support to the vaginal walls and bladder and urethra. Viveve can be done alone or in combination with other modalities of treatment, such as pelvic floor muscle strengthening, or urethral bulking agent injections, which are only offered by specially trained urologists and urogynecologists. If you are interested in learning more about Viveve, please feel free to call the office, contact us online. Dr. Kumar welcomes your questions and is happy to discuss your options with you.