Genital reconstruction surgery usually refers to an operation to correct birth defects or malformations in the genital area caused by trauma or disease. This type of surgery can also be called intersex surgery, aimed at correcting defects in babies born with ambiguous external sexual organs. Sexual reassignment surgery represents another form of genital reconstructive surgery chosen by transgender or transgender individuals. Genital reconstructive surgery may be sought for aesthetic reasons, while other operations may allow normal sexual functioning.
Intersexual genital reconstructive surgery can be performed in infants, children or adults born with birth defects. In women, surgery can reduce the size of the clitoris, create an opening for menstruation and remove the testicles. Operations on boys can treat testicles that have not descended and open a path in the penis to urinate. These surgeries usually aim to make the genitalia appear normal in a child born with sexual organs that do not develop as strictly male or female.
Transsexual genital reconstructive surgery can transform the appearance of female sexual organs into males. Penile implants and the creation of a scrotum from tissue removed from another part of the body represent two common procedures. Saline or gel implants placed in the new scrotum commonly occur in female genital reconstructive surgeries for men. These operations may include creating a penis from tissue removed from the mouth or vagina. An implanted rod or pump device can allow for an erection if microsurgery successfully reconnects blood vessels and nerves.
Gender reconstructive surgery for men may include the use of part of the penis containing nerve endings to create a clitoris. This can allow a male to female transsexual retains the sensations and ability to achieve orgasm. Surgery may also include using penile tissue or scrotum to create a vagina. When this tissue is not adequate, part of the colon can be used to model a vagina. Transplanted tissue can also serve as internal and external vaginal lips.
Genital reconstructive surgery can also be sought for purely aesthetic reasons. Some men are born with the opening of urine at the bottom of the penis, or with a curve of the penis. Obese men may notice that their penises are not visible because they are surrounded by fat. Surgeries to correct these defects are usually performed by a plastic surgeon.
A woman may want an operation to tighten a stretched vagina during childbirth. Other reconstructive procedures can reduce the size of the pubic region, an operation called labiaplasty, when it causes an ugly lump through clothing. Excess fat can also be removed through liposuction.