Hymen repair: Restoring virginity
The hymen is a thin layer of tissue, a membrane that is usually intact in young women (virgins) forming a barrier to the entrance to the vagina. In some cultures it is very important for the hymen to be intact. Sometimes an operation is necessary to repair it.
Hymen repair surgery
We can perform the following hymen repair procedures: hymenoplasty, hymenorrhaphy or restoration of the hymenal ring.
By using various surgical techniques, we can repair the hymen, hymenal ring. In contrast to the ritual female genital mutilation in some cultures, repairing the hymen is not a ritual but a condition. The symbolic importance is related to the girl's position within a social category of society: a girl is transformed from being gender neutral into a generic being. Non-participation can have far reaching implications for the girl and her family.
The hymen: a thin vaginal membrane
Between week 7 and 12 of the embryo's development during pregnancy the gender of the foetus is determined. In a male the genital walls fuse and form the scrotum and in a female the labia minora and majora are formed (internal and external vaginal lips). The mucosal fold at the opening which remains in the middle is the hymen. There is a wide variation in the shape and opening in the hymen which is also age-related.
In sexually active women the remnants of the hymen are described as 'carunculae myrtiformis'.
The hymen: some interesting facts
- In 99.9% the hymen is formed in an embryo: this means that 1 in 1000 women are born without a hymen.
- In 44% of women there is no blood loss during the first vaginal penetration.
- Due to an increase in the number of fertile migrant women in our multicultural society there is an increasing demand for operations to repair the hymen.
- Research shows that many boys from Mediterranean countries place considerable importance on their (future) wife being a virgin when they get married.
- 40% of the girls involved think that it is unfair that this only applies to the female sex.
- 25% consents to sex before marriage in a stable relationship.
- 89% wants to "bleed" the night of their wedding out of honour for their parents or from fear of punishment or repudiation.
- 50% of the girls interviewed would want there own daughters to respect this tradition.
(source: NVOG May 3004)
Restoration of the hymen
We advice patients who request a reconstruction is focused on guaranteeing their right to autonomy and respect for non-western cultures.
It must be clear what the condition of virginity means for the individual, her partner, her family and his family. We try to involve the partner as much as possible to be fully informed. It is important to take into account the principle of equality of both sexes and to prevent physical and psychological damage. On an individual level information can be provided about the hymen.
An operation to reconstruct the hymen is only performed if after counselling it appears that there is no other solution.
Restoration of the hymen is performed on an outpatient basis, under local anaesthetic or intravenous sedation.
Repairing the hymen consists of piecing together the remnants by closing the tear, and is carried out as closely as possible to the date of the wedding. It is a very simple procedure that must be done at least 1 month to 6 weeks before the wedding so the internal sutures have disappeared completely. This procedure is well tolerated under local anaesthetic.
Alloplant and nanoFat Transfer
A tear-through biomaterial can be inserted. This is also a temporary measure, carried out shortly before marriage.
This is a 'larger operation' where an incision is made in the vaginal membrane and both sides are pulled and stitched together. This must take place plenty of time before the wedding night so that it has time to heal. The procedure is performed under intravenous sedation and on an outpatient basis. The operation takes between one and two hours, and the patient can return to work the next day. Dis-solvable stitches are used.
Hymen repair: your appointment for a consultation
Hymen correction - repair of the hymen or construction of a new hymen can vary from one person to another. A comprehensive pre-examination is therefore essential. During the consultation with one of our doctors you can discuss all your questions and wishes. The consultation will reveal which treatment method is best for you and what exactly you can expect.
We try to keep our waiting lists as short as possible. We can usually see you within 4 weeks.