What is Hymen?
A hymen is a thin pinkish membrane that partially blocks the vaginal entrance. It is situated just inside the vagina about half an inch inside. It is in fact part of the vulva which is the gateway to vagina. The function of the hymen is unknown but has been proposed as a vaginal barrier against
external sources of infection until puberty.
What is Hymenoplasty?
Hymenoplasty, which is also referred to as hymenorrhaphy, hymen reconstruction, hymen repair, hymen restoration, hymen surgery, and revirgination, is the most popular term describing surgery to reestablish the integrity of the hymen.
Who Needs A Hymenoplasty?
None. Repair has no direct medical benefit. Absence of the hymen or failure to bleed is not necessarily a sign of previous intercourse. Studies have shown that over 40% did not bleed at first intercourse and intact hymen has been reported in 52% with prior intercourse. Also the procedure of hymenoplasty does not guarantee bleeding on intercourse.
There are many reasons why a woman might consider undergoing a hymenoplasty procedure. Some of the reasons for having hymenoplasty include:
Cultural or religious reasons. In some cultures, having an intact hymen is very significant as it acts as a signifier of the chastity of a woman. Whether during sexual activity or otherwise, a woman’s hymen can tear. Having cosmetic surgery to restore the hymen is a way of proving virginity and chastity.
Psychological healing. If a woman has suffered rape or sexual abuse, it is very likely that her hymen will have torn. As a way to repair the psychological damage of this kind of abuse, some women choose to have hymen surgery to restore them both physically and mentally to the time before the abuse o
Injury to the hymen. For some women, having an intact hymen that becomes broken during a first sexual experience is very important. In some instances, the hymen can tear before intercourse. Use of tampons and vigorous exercise can all tear the hymen, and in the case of a hymen being torn because of these activities, hymenoplasty offers a surgical solution.
Revirgination. When a woman begins a relationship with a new partner but has already broken her hymen during sexual intercourse, she may wish to have her hymen surgically restructured.
Timing of Hymenoplasty
The timing of anticipated coitus may play a role in selecting a surgical approach. For patients who desire structural integrity and need the hymen to be intact on visual inspection, the repair should be performed 3 months before the “consummation of marital vows.” However, when the timing of coitus is known, and the patient desires bleeding but visual integrity is not needed, surgery is often best scheduled 3 weeks before the date.
The choice of procedure is decided by the surgeon based on desired outcome and time till marriage. The most common procedures are flap technique, Surgical adhesion, Luminal reduction and suture only techniques. It is performed as a day care procedure under local anesthesia with sedation or preferably under General anesthesia due to the anxiety of the procedure involved. All techniques achieve the same goal of forming adhesions between hymen remnants and narrowing the introitus.
What is the Recovery After Hymenoplasty?
Mild discomfort is treated with oral pain medication for a few days. Wound care consists of gentle irrigation after urination and patting after defecation. You can take shower the next day, and should not use public pools, hot tubs, and saunas for 4 weeks. If you start your menstrual cycle, it is recommended you avoid using tampons for your next 1-2 cycles to avoid irritation of the incisions while they are healing.
At least couple of days should be taken off work or arrange to work from home during this time. Aggressive physical activity should be avoided for at least a week or two after surgery. Sexual intercourse should be avoided for approximately 4 weeks after a hymenoplasty. By week 6 to 8, the healing is complete, and no restrictions are needed.
Risks and complications
Hymenoplasty is a safe procedure and other than the usual anesthesia risks no major complications exist. Because of the use of small dissolving suture there may be mild bleeding from the surgical wound, possibly caused by walking or other activities. Failure to bleed on intercourse and repair breakdown are the only surgical complications.
Do I need accompanying person?
If you are major (> 18 years) there is no need of accompanying person. The secrecy and confidentiality is strictly maintained
Is there scar or sign of operation?
No, there are no signs visible after surgery. Initial few weeks till the sutures get absorbed there will be sutures seen on visual inspection. Once you have recovered full, you will see an intact hymen like natural one without any scar mark
Can it be combined with other procedures?
Hymenoplasty can be combined with labioplasty for vulval shaping or vaginoplasty when there is vaginal laxity.