General Information

Hymenoplasty, a medical procedure that has sparked controversy recently, is a sort of "re-virginization" that is mostly in countries in the Middle East and Latin America. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, concerned about how this procedure is being marketed, has voiced its concern and its questionable ethical repercussions. Although the group has not taken a stand, the concern is that in an effort to improve sex lives, surgeons will not be able to educate their patients thoroughly due to the lack of literature available.

Many people seek this procedure in an effort to appease religious, cultural and societal beliefs. Women may seek it out prior to their wedding to make their sexual lives non- descript and not the talk of the town. If the surgery goes as planned, the hymen tear will cause pain and blood loss. Religious folks and feminists feel that this is a form of deception and female genital mutilation- regardless of who is right or wrong, it is a procedure that holds no basis in the repair of a physical issue. It is not a procedure that is reviewed in residencies nor taught in teaching facilities, but yet is something that is gaining popularity daily.

The actual surgical process entails very little. The hymenoplasty will require a local anesthetic and no hospitalization; your doctor will use dissolvable stitches to reconnect the skin membrane that once partially covered the opening to the vagina. Recovery time is about six weeks; risks of infection and fever are very minimal. Subsequent intercourse will tear the membrane causing pain and bleeding. The surgery can cost as little as $1,800 and range all the way to $3000.

The name is derived from the Greek god of marriage, Hymen and has been a mark of virginity since the beginning of time. It is widely known and accepted that the hymen can be ruptured by nonsexual activity, such as dancing, horse back riding and athletics. At one time, a bride's hymen being intact was the only way to determine her chastity and the paternity of any ensuing children.

In the past midwives were known to disguise a broken hymen by sewing it up, with a needle and thread, at times using the membrane material of sheep, goats and other animals.

Vaginal surgery has become all the rage, with women designing their vagina and surrounding areas to suit their needs, or the needs of their lovers. Surgeons are reporting that they do at least 200 surgeries a month, when in the last decade it was may 10 surgeries a year. It is cause for celebration for some, but most doctors are calling the hymenoplasty a "bogus" procedure, due in large part that it doesn't make one a virgin again.

Hymen repair (hymen restoration surgery) is usually done at the request of someone who needs the surgery for ethnic, cultural, or religious reasons. Many surgeons will not perform hymenoplasty surgery in a woman who has already undergone childbirth.

The hymen is a ring-like skin membrane that sits in the lower third of the vagina. It marks the spot that vulvovaginal bulbs fuse with the ducts from above and then hollow out to form the vagina. Most often there is a 5 or 6 pointed star opening in the hymen after maturity. With first intercourse or by accident from falling or tampons, several areas tear in the hymen. Most often there is bleeding at the time of tearing.

Procedure:

The hymenoplasty procedure is done under local anesthesic. While tissue dissection to prevent small blood vessels from bleeding, the areas which were torn is torn are removed. This is so that they will grow back together when they are approximated with stitches. Then after they are denuded, the edges are brought back together to reform the star-shaped "ring" as it was prior to relations, accident etc. It is made small enough, so that when first sexual relations occur later on, it will "tear" again, there will be some pain, and there will be bleeding.

Resumption of normal activity is immediate.

Risks:

Slight, but a possibility of over- recession, causing pain during intercourse

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