Last Updated October 31st, 2022
Hymenoplasty – Brief Overview
Hymenoplasty is a surgical procedure that is done to reconstruct the hymen, a soft membrane located at the end of the vagina that partially covers the vaginal opening. Hymenoplasty, also referred to as hymenorrhaphy is a cosmetic surgery done to repair the torn hymen in a woman’s vagina.
But before going further, let us know a bit more about the hymen.
What is a hymen?
The hymen is a ring-like pinkish tissue membrane that partially or completely covers the vaginal opening in a woman’s body. The texture of the hymen tissue can be thick or thin and starts developing while the fetus is in the mother’s womb.
Contrary to popular beliefs, the hymen is not impenetrable. Our culture and historical beliefs often relate a woman’s virginity to the breakage of the hymen followed by bleeding, which is not always true.
A woman’s virginity is often related to an intact hymen but it can be broken even without penile penetration. Day-to-day strenuous activities, sports, and insertion of tampons, etc. can also break the hymen.
Hymenoplasty preparation – before the surgery
If you want to undergo a hymenoplasty surgery, it is best you visit your doctor and seek at least two medical consultations 15 days apart or more prior to the surgery. This will give the doctor ample time to prepare you for the surgery and do other diagnoses prior to the surgery.
When you visit your doctor, he/she will take a detailed summary of your medical history and decide whether you are an ideal candidate for the procedure or not. The doctor along with a healthcare provider will explain to you the procedure, preparation, and complications of the surgery.
The team of doctors will also learn about your expectations and will explain to you the probable result of the surgery. They will also ask you about the reason for which you want to undergo the surgery. You will be advised to ask questions and clear doubts regarding the surgery, postoperative care, and complications that may occur after the surgery. After that, the doctor will explain to you the details of the surgery and the recovery process.
Before the surgery
- Your doctor will do a gynecological examination
- You will be asked to stop taking anticoagulants, anti-inflammatory, or other aspirin-based medications to prevent bleeding after the surgery
- Patients are advised not to take any alcohol or stop smoking a few days before the surgery
- Stop taking birth control pills at least 10 days before the surgery
All information about the surgery will be strictly confidential and no details about the patient or her medical history will be shared with any third party even close family members of the patient.
Procedure – during the surgery
The surgery normally takes 30 to 45 minutes and can be done on an outpatient basis and does not generally need any hospitalization. The surgeon generally performs the procedure under local anesthesia.
The surgery is quite simple. During the surgery, the surgeon will neatly cut the torn pieces of skin along the sides of the hymen. The remaining skin tissues will be stitched and will leave a small opening to form a natural ring shape demonstrating the normal size of the hymen.
If the patient does not have a hymen or there is not enough skin tissue to revive the normal shape and size of the hymen, the surgeon will create a new hymen by taking some vaginal skin from the patient’s body or using some synthetic tissue. The surgeon will also add a thin blood supply either artificially created or taken from the vaginal flap of the patient. This will give a virginal look to the hymen and will stimulate natural bleeding after penile penetration.
Surgeons generally use self-dissolving sutures for the incision site. After the surgery, patients can go back home the same day.
When should you go for a hymenoplasty surgery?
Hymenoplasty is mostly done as cosmetic surgery to repair the torn hymen. However, besides cosmetic reasons, hymenoplasty is done for medical conditions as well.
- Revirginization: An intact hymen is considered as an indication of virginity. The most common reason for hymenoplasty is to repair the torn hymen to restore its virginal look. Many young women who during adolescence had experienced sexual encounters may regret it later and want a hymenoplasty surgery to revive the virginal look. Some women who had sexual encounters in the past go for a hymenoplasty surgery before marriage to give a virginal experience to their partners.
- Traumatic experience: Women especially rape survivors who have lost their virginity may undergo a hymenoplasty surgery to reclaim their virginity. The traumatic experience may leave a deep scar in their lives. Many women who are about to start a new life with their partners may want to undergo the knife to repair their hymens and have a fresh start to their new lives.
- Social and cultural causes: Many cultures consider that virginity is essential for marriage and consider it as a sign of purity. An accidental tear in the hymen not necessarily due to vaginal intercourse is considered taboo in many cultures. In such cases, getting a hymen repair surgery becomes a necessity.
- Accidental tearing of the hymen: Sometimes women who do strenuous jobs or athletes can rupture their hymens. Bicycle or horse riding, gynecological examinations, tampon insertion, etc. can also cause hymen ruptures.
- Imperforate hymen: This is a condition when the hymen completely covers the vaginal opening. A baby can develop imperforate hymen in the mother’s womb or at a later stage in life as well. An imperforate hymen can be a major medical problem especially when the child is going through puberty and starts menstruating. She can experience lower abdominal bulge and pain, difficulty in urination or bowel movements, etc. A hymenoplasty surgery can remove the extra tissue that can allow normal periods and relief of the symptoms.
- Sexual pleasure: The vaginal muscles may become loose after childbirth or at old age. Hymenoplasty can repair and tighten the hymen and enhance sexual pleasure.
- Septate hymen: Sometimes the hymen may be too thick, almost impenetrable. A hymenoplasty can make a small incision in the hymen to facilitate penetration.
- Micro-perforate hymen: This condition is similar to an imperforate hymen; however, the only difference is that here, the hymen has a small opening only allowing the menstrual flow. Generally, this may not be a problem, however, if a woman wants to use a tampon or wants to enlarge the opening of the hymen for cosmetic or other reasons, she may undergo a hymenoplasty surgery.
Who can undergo a hymenoplasty surgery?
Doctors do not recommend a hymenoplasty surgery for girls under the age of 18. The patient must be of sound health and should give details about her medical history to the doctor before going forward with the surgery.
Based on the type of procedure and your preference, you can have the surgery in a specialized local clinic or a hospital. Whether you have the surgery in a big hospital or a small clinic, they have their pros and cons.
- The cost of procedures are cheaper than private hospitals
- You may get more attention and personalized care in a small clinic
- The process of consultation, hospitalization and release is faster compared to big hospitals
- Patients may have less access to high-end equipment and facilities compared to big hospitals
- A small clinic may lack the medical facility or staff to handle complications
- Reputed big hospitals are often known for their doctors and operation success rates
- Big hospitals have more trained doctors and medical care facilities to handle emergencies
- Patients can seek consultation for other underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, urination problems, etc. during their hospital stay.
- Charges are high compared to small clinics
- Patients have to wait for their turn for a consultation or a follow-up visit for days or even weeks
Cost of hymenoplasty surgery
The average cost of hymenoplasty surgery can be between INR 25,000 to INR 60,000 or even more. It can be as low as INR 15,000 depending on the location, city, and the clinic or hospital where the patient is having the surgery.
The price of hymenoplasty surgery depends on various factors such as:
- The place or city where the clinic or hospital is located. The cost is much more in big metropolitan cities like Mumbai and Delhi.
- If you are travelling to another city to have the surgery, then you have to consider other underlying costs like hotel stay, daily travel cost, food expenditure, etc.
- Small clinics charge less compared to big or reputed hospitals.
- Doctor’s charges.
- The insurance coverage for the procedure. If the patient does not have insurance coverage, then she has to bear the full cost of the procedure and pay from her own pocket.
Post-surgery care and things to keep in mind
Though patients can return to work immediately after the surgery, surgeons advise to taking rest for at least 24 to 72 hours for proper healing of the body.
- Patients may experience bruising and slight swelling in the surgical site for a few weeks but it gradually heals. There may be minimal pain but it will go away within a week. Doctors will also prescribe pain medication and antibiotics for comfort and to prevent any infection on the surgical site.
- Patients are advised to avoid intercourse for at least one month and to refrain from the use of tampons to help the incision site to heal properly. This will keep the hymen intact and prevent accidental breaking.
- Avoid strenuous activities, lifting of heavy objects, and exercises. Patients can however start doing light exercises after one week post-surgery. Complete recovery will take four to six weeks.
- Avoid using public swimming pools or sauna for at least 3 or 4 weeks to avoid infections.
Hymenoplasty or hymen repair surgery is a safe procedure and there are normally no complications. However, in some cases, patients may experience certain complications or side effects.
- Pain after surgery – Patients may feel slight pain on the incision site after the surgery for the first two or three days and the pain gradually wears off. This is quite normal. However, if the pain persists and becomes more intense, it is best to consult the doctor or the surgeon.
- Irritation – Occasional itching and irritation on the incision site are normal and it will lessen as the incision site heals. However, if the itchiness and discomfort are beyond control, consult your doctor.
- Abnormal bleeding – In hymenoplasty, the doctor uses dissolvable sutures and this may sometimes lead to bleeding. Though the risk of bleeding is very rare, some patients may complain about bleeding from the surgery site. If the bleeding is profuse, patients must consult the doctor immediately.
- Infection/inflammation – Inflammation or infection on the suture site may happen after the surgery. Since the surgery is done on the vaginal opening, it is prone to infections. Infections may lead to inflammation. Vaginal discharge, urine, etc. may lead to infections. Patients must keep their private parts clean and dry to prevent any infection. Patients who have diabetes or have suffered a urinary tract infection or any other vaginal infection can have infections after the procedure. Infections or swelling can disrupt the suture site and can cause bleeding.
- Abnormal foul-smelling vaginal discharge – Complete healing of the suture site may take six to eight weeks. During this time, patients may have greenish-yellowish discharge from the vagina. This is considered normal. After the surgery, the vaginal fluids may react with the sutures and the wound site and cause infections. This may be due to fungal infections. The doctor will prescribe some anti-fungal medications to heal the infection.
- Numbness – This is rare but can happen in some patients. This condition generally happens due to some nerve injury in the vaginal area.
- Painful menses – Some patients complain of painful menses due to the reduced size of the vaginal opening after the surgery.
- Discomfort walking or sitting – After the surgery, some patients complain of pain during walking or sitting. This occurs because the inner skin that has been stitched inside often rubs against the vaginal folds and causes pain and irritation.
- Hematoma – Hematomas can occur post-surgery. They may form blood clots that have to be surgically removed.
- Dizziness – Some patients also complain of dizziness after the surgery.
- Disappointing results – Hymenoplasty surgeries do not guarantee full satisfaction or 100% recovery of the hymen. Some patients may not be satisfied with the corrective surgery. Sometimes the hymen tissues are too thin and the full ring of the hymen may not be recovered. Some patients also complain of distortion of the hymen.
Hymenoplasty is a surgical intervention to reconstruct the hymen in the vagina. A hymenoplasty surgery cannot help a patient to regain her lost virginity but can help to re-boost her confidence and give her hymen a virginal look. Hymenoplasty surgery is a simple procedure and there are several leading hospitals in Bangalore that offer hymenoplasty surgery. So, if you are in Bangalore and seeking consultation for a hymenoplasty surgery, we at goficure have a team of medical experts and consultants that can connect you to some of the best OB/GYN doctors in Bangalore. Our center provides top-class assistance and will assist you from consultation to post-operative care.
- Take your antibiotics, anti-inflammatory, and laxatives as prescribed by your doctor to reduce pain on the incision site.
- Shower one or two days after the surgery. Tap dry the wound site to prevent any infection.
- Take a rest from work for at least 2 to 3 days after the surgery.
- Use sanitary napkins instead of tampons for at least 1 or 2 menstrual cycles.
- Clean the inner lining of the vagina immediately after the surgery.
- Taking alcohol for two weeks.
- Smoke before and after the surgery for at least two weeks.
- Lift heavy objects or do strenuous activities after the surgery.
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