Hymenoplasty (Hymen Restoration)

The hymen is a thin piece of mucosal tissue that surrounds or partially covers the external vaginal opening. It forms part of the vulva, or external genitalia, and is similar in structure to the vagina.

There are many reasons for a woman’s hymen to break/tear. Contrary, to popular belief, sexual intercourse is not one of the common causes of breaking the hymen. Some of the common causes for the hymen to break are due to the woman indulging in sports, dance and using tampons. Therefore, the hymen being intact does not indicate the status of the woman’s virginity.

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However, there could be many reasons for a woman to undergo hymenoplasty like due to the norms of some communities/cultures regarding hymen, virginity and marriage, to repair hymen that is torn due to some injury or to provide mental relief to victims of sexual assault.

What is Hymenoplasty?

Hymenoplasty (a.k.a. hymenorrhaphy (or) hymen reconstruction surgery) is a non-invasive, temporary surgical restoration of the hymen.

The hymen restoration process is a very simple procedure that is generally performed under local anaesthesia. There are three different techniques/procedures to perform hymenoplasty:

  1. The first, basic, technique is used if/when there are remains of the hymen. The surgeon would sew the torn parts of the hymen using dissolvable stiches under local anesthesia. The entire procedure takes approximately 30 minutes.
  2. In the second type, called the Alloplant technique, a biomaterial is placed inside the vagina by the surgeon which behaves as a hymen and can be torn during sexual intercourse or other activities. The entire procedure takes approximately 2 hours.
  3. The third technique involves the reconstruction of a fully functional hymen with blood supply using the lining of the vagina. This procedure requires that the woman abstains from sexual intercourse for a minimum of three months.

Why would a woman consider Hymenoplasty?

Sexual Assault

The restoration of the hymen of a woman subjected to sexual assault can provide psychological relief and help with coping up with the trauma. More than physical restoration, in these cases, it is about psychological comfort and healing.

 

Cultural Beliefs

In many cultures across the world, pre-marital sex is considered taboo. In such cultures, the female is expected to remain a virgin until marriage. The woman’s virginity is often determined by her bleeding/not bleeding due to the breaking of the hymen at the first time of intercourse after marriage.

 

Accidents

The hymen may break or tear due to unforeseen injuries and accidents. In such cases, a woman might want to restore her hymen before her first-time intercourse.

 

Sexual Pleasure

Over the course of time and especially post childbirth, the vaginal muscles weaken and the sexual pleasure is lowered. Hymenoplasty helps to tighten these muscles and improve or enhance the sexual pleasure.

 

Gifting

A woman may seek to gift her sexual partner as a surprise of a virginal experience on any special occasion like Valentine’s Day, birthday, anniversary or on the day of their wedding.

Risks associated with the procedure

Typically, hymenoplasty is a safe, quick and simple procedure without any complications to the extent that there are absolutely no visible scars post the surgical procedure.

Some commonly experienced abnormalities are:

  1. Abnormal bleeding from the vagina
  2. Excruciating pain lasting multiple days
  3. Dizziness
  4. Swelling
  5. Itching
  6. Unpleasant odour from the vagina and the discharge (if any)
  7. Infection

Do not hesitate to contact your doctor if you experience one or more of the above symptoms or if there are any other concerns.

Recovery

Depending upon the individual, the recovery time usually varies between 4 weeks to 6 weeks.

There is no need for the patient to go back to the doctor to get the stiches removed. The stiches are dissolvable. There will not be any visible scars after healing.