The hymen is a thin membrane that partially blocks the vaginal opening. Often the hymen is torn during the first experience of sexual intercourse. The hymen can also be ruptured by exercise, horseback riding, a fall, or even by tampon use.
Hymenoplasty is a simple but somewhat controversial procedure in which the remaining fragments of a ruptured hymen are used to reconstruct an intact membrane. Women most often undergo this procedure for religious, societal, or cultural reasons, but, as with any cosmetic procedure, an individual's reason for desiring the procedure is always highly personal. Dr. Otto J. Placik and his staff at Associated Plastic Surgeons will hold all consultations in strictest confidence to ensure the patient's privacy.
During a hymenoplasty, the remnants of a torn hymen are specially treated, or denuded, to remove the top layer of tissue. This denuding allows the edges of the torn membrane to adhere to each other during healing. The pieces of membrane are sewn together with dissolvable stitches, creating a recreated, intact hymen that is natural in appearance and feel.
The procedure itself can be performed under local anesthesia, and takes only an hour or two. Conscious sedation can also be used if the patient wishes. After surgery, you can resume your normal activities almost immediately, but the recovery time for the actual reconstruction is six to eight weeks. During recovery, you must refrain from sexual activity, tampon use, and vigorous exercise.
Sexual intercourse after healing is completed will rupture the reconstructed hymen, just as a first sexual experience will tear a natural hymen. This tearing will be accompanied by some pain and possibly bleeding.
Before the procedure, Dr. Placik will consult with you about your expectations and goals regarding the surgery. We always want to be sure all your questions are answered, and that you are completely at ease with your decision. You will also be given a thorough physical examination as well as a gynecological exam, an overview of your family history, your overall health, and any conditions or factors that might affect the outcome of your surgery.
If you would like more information about hymenoplasty, please contact cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Otto J. Placik today for a consultation. We'll do our best to answer all your questions and be sure you're at ease with any decisions you make about cosmetic surgery.