Hymenoplasty, also known as hymenorrhaphy or virginity restoration, is a cosmetic surgery to repair a woman’s hymen.
The hymen is a thin membrane that partially covers the vaginal opening. It has great variability in shape among women: it may have a single opening which varies in size or may have multiple openings separated by bands of tissue or may have no opening, as well as it may simply be completely absent since birth. When present, it may also be thin and flexible or thick and rigid. Moreover, its rupture may occur not only following sexual intercourse, but also due to physical activity, to trauma, or even just by inserting a tampon. Lastly, not all first sexual intercourse with an intact hymen result in pain and/or bleeding or in injury to the hymen.
So, unlike popular belief and similarly to other designer vagina procedures there is no standard for what a virgin vagina should look like.
Nevertheless, due to popular culture, religion and to sociocultural beliefs there is a demand for hymen restoration surgery all over the world, often sought-after right before wedding as a proof of virginity and purity for the soon-to-be husband.
In rare cases, some women seek the hymenoplasty as part of the healing process following sexual assault, although in this case counseling and psychotherapy are advised before undergoing surgery.
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The hymen repair surgery is a very controversial cosmetic/reconstructive procedure. It will not necessarily cause bleeding after sexual intercourse nor it will necessarily change the feeling for the partner during intercourse.
There are several techniques available and they mainly consist in the suturing of the remnants of the hymen together with resorbable stitches, following different patterns. Some surgeons may decide to take a small amount of tissue (graft) from the vaginal canal and use it to reconstruct part or all of the hymen.
The hymenoplasty is a quick procedure lasting less than 30 minutes and requiring just local anesthesia. After the procedure the patient is advised to refrain from sexual activity for 2-6 weeks.
There are no large population studies on this type of surgery and patients often don’t follow up after the procedure. According to anecdotal evidence, the surgery seems to be successful in most cases.
Risks of hymen repair surgery
The hymenoplasty procedure is one of the least described genital procedures in plastic surgery. Surgeons categorize it as safe and with minimal risk. In a 2018 study on 9 women undergoing hymen restoration, 7 presented at 30-day follow-up and 3 presented at 90-day follow up, with no complications noted in any case.
Costs of hymenoplasty
Price varies depending on the chosen surgeon and clinic, on the technique used, and on the country where you undergo surgery.
In the US it costs between 2,000 USD and 4,000 USD.
In the UK the price varies between 2,000 GBP and 3,000 GBP (2,600-3,900 USD).
In Thailand it starts around 30,000 THB (950 USD).
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M Vojvodic, F Lista – Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Jun 2018
- Female Cosmetic Genital Surgery – Concepts, Classification, and Techniques.
CA Hamori, PE Banwell, R Alinsod – Thieme, 2017
- International Textbook of Aesthetic Surgery
N Scuderi, BA Toth – Springer, 2016