The hymen, or cherry, is a thin and elastic membrane consisting of fine fibres, partially blocking the vaginal entry. It does not fully cover the vaginal entry so that menstrual blood may yet issue from the start of puberty on. The hymen usually opens already before birth. Individual women may note a large variety of sizes and shapes concerningfind a large variety of sizes and shapes in their hymens. Its anatomic meaning is not entirely clear. Some scientists think it is supposed to protect the vagina from infections or intrusions during childhood. The first sexual intercourse, the defloration, usually but not always destroys the hymen. Also mechanic stress from sports, such as riding on horse-back or bicycle, from gymnastics, or from falls and accidents may easily destroy the hymen. Damage to the hymen may also pass unnoticed, for sometimes there is no pain or blood. Especially in Arabic and southern European countries, the hymen is of high importance, being a symbol of virginity and purity.
A restoration of the hymen is possible by various means of surgery. These methods aim at the same target, but there are many different terms, such as hymenoplastics, reconstruction of the hymen, revirginisation, restoration of the hymen, hymen replacement or restitution of the hymenal ring.
The hymen is carefully reconstructed with autologous tissue. We use a type of laser scalpel for the few required incisions, which enables high precision and little loss of blood. This improves and accelerates the healing process significantly. The operation will require about 60 to 90 minutes. It can be carried out under local anaesthetic. For the surgery at the hymen we use self-dissolving sutures. If the intervention is carried out precisely by an experienced and qualified surgeon, after a healing period of 2 to 3 weeks even an experienced examiner will usually no longer be able to recognise that a hymenoplasty has occurred. The restored hymen may last for approx. 1-2 years and like the natural one it will tear apart during intercourse with a bit of bleeding.
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