Hymenoplasty: What is Hymen Reconstruction?

Hymenoplasty: What is Hymen Reconstruction?

What is Hymenoplasty?

Hymenoplasty is a simple operation that involves the repair of the hymen. The hymen is a ring-like skin membrane that partly occludes the opening of the vagina, but does not enter within it, leaving the lateral 2/3 of the vaginal opening uncovered. Hymenoplasty is intended to repair a torn hymen, which may have been damaged due to the insertion of tampons, physical activity, or rape. Once the hymen is successfully repaired, patients will notice that the hymen is restored to how it was before it was torn, meaning that it will bleed and be painful when it is next stretched. This can be useful for cultural ritual or traditions, where the presence of an intact hymen is a sign of virginity and may only be broken after the woman is married. Many patients seek hymenoplasty for personal reasons, feeling that it will bring resolution to a painful experience.

Details of Hymenoplasty Operation

Details of the hymenoplasty operation are fully and clearly described by the plastic surgeon to the patient before preparing for the procedure. A thorough explanation of the procedure helps the patient and surgeon to make a good decision, as it is strictly the patient’s personal decision. The normal follow-up visit begins with a review of the surgery on paper and discussion about the reasons the patient wants to proceed, with the goal of improving emotional distress caused by a traumatic event. Then, a physical examination follows to confirm there aren’t any easily identifiable anatomical anomalies. Approximately 1 – 1.5 hours is required; however, in the case of a complicated case such as a microperforate septate hymen, it may take longer. On the day of the surgery or just before, the patient will be asked to sign a consent form and preoperative photographs are taken.

The operation is usually done as a day case, under local anesthesia with or without sedation, so patients are able to arrange their own transport and don’t have to stay in the hospital longer than necessary. If the patient is extremely anxious, the procedure can be done under general anesthesia or in the hospital. During the operation, one should prepare oneself for a number of strange noises and sensations, but it is unlikely to feel any pain! The basic procedure involves the creation of the hymenal ring using the hymenal remnants. An effective method involves the removal of the torn edges, and single interrupted sutures are used to approximate the tissues. The sutures will dissolve themselves in approximately 10-14 days.


Why Some Women Desire Reconstruction of the Hymen, Hymen Repair ?

It is worth noting that people from all cultures seek hymenoplasty, and that the decision is not always linked to cultural background. Each individual case is unique and the decision can be a complex issue influenced by many different factors. In many cases, the decision for a woman to have her hymen repaired is her own. These are frequently women who come from the same cultural backgrounds outlined above, although women do seek the procedure for a variety of reasons. Many are very distressed after having lost their virginity in a way which was non-consensual. The procedure allows them to put this event behind them and look to the future. This should not necessarily be seen as an unhealthy act of denial, for some women closure on this issue is an important part of the healing process. The procedure can also be an effective means of concealing a sexual past from a prospective husband. Not all women view this as an act of deceit, rather a method of ensuring that their partner will accept them for who they are.  Having migrated to Europe, women  may find themselves integrated into a more liberal society. This may lead to them entering into relationships with men from their native culture who have the same expectations as to their bride’s virginity as they themselves once did. Frequently, these women feel that they do not want to be judged by standards that they no longer hold and the decision may weigh heavily on them as a matter of internal conflict.  Certainly in many cases, the decision to have hymenoplasty is not the woman’s own, but rather the decision of her family. This is common in cultures where a high premium is placed on virginity and many restrictions are placed on women with regard to contact with men, particularly prior to marriage. In such cultures, the loss of virginity is still seen as a severe social stigma bringing shame on the woman and her family. In extreme cases, loss of virginity can and does result in honor killings. In these situations, the woman may feel that she has little or no choice but to undergo the procedure. Failure to do so could result in rejection by her family, or at the least, a lifetime of shame and social exclusion.

Cost of Hymenoplasty

In Australia, this type of procedure will cost around $3000 to $4000. It is not a widely accepted procedure, and there is a low demand for the procedure in comparison to Europe or America, thus the price will be more expensive. In Malaysia, the cost of a hymenoplasty is significantly lower than Western countries. This is due to the lower cost of living and abundance of medical resources in the country. A procedure will cost between $800 and $2000. France is known to have the cheapest and best gynecological resources in the world. A good procedure may only cost $1000 to $2000. In some cases, health insurance may cover part or all of the cost. Hymen reconstruction is also available in Middle Eastern countries. However, it is illegal to become a certified hymen reconstruction surgeon. This means that standard doctors or gynecologists will perform the procedure, which may lead to complications or an unsatisfactory result. High and upper-middle-class girls in the Middle East will often fly to a Western country to undergo the procedure.

Hymenoplasty is considered a cosmetic procedure and, depending on different geographic, economic, and subjective factors, the cost of the procedure will vary from doctor to doctor. If you live in a different state or country, flight and accommodations should be taken into consideration. In the US and Europe, this type of procedure is pretty expensive. Clinics may charge between $2000 and $5000 for a procedure. If you find a price a lot cheaper than $2000, then you should be wary and investigate the procedure in more depth.

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