What is Hymenotomy?
A hymenotomy is a minor hymen surgery procedure that involves removing part or all of a woman’s hymen. It is done for a variety of reasons, most of which have to do with the malformation of the hymen. Some women have this surgery to increase comfort during the intercourse, while others need it for health reasons.
Why a Hymenotomy Is Performed?
A woman requiring a hymenotomy usually has an imperforate, septate, or micro-perforate hymen. An imperforate hymen covers the entire vaginal opening and usually has no holes or perforations. Often this condition is not known until a woman begins to menstruate. If this condition is not corrected, the menstrual blood can back up into the uterus and flow out of the fallopian tubes into the abdomen. A septate hymen typically has two small holes parallel to each other on either side of the vaginal opening.
A micro-perforate hymen generally only has one or several very small holes. In all of these cases, a hymenotomy may be necessary to facilitate menstrual flow, make it possible to use a tampon, or facilitate sexual intercourse. In some cases, young women with relatively normal hymens also require a hymenotomy because they may have very thick or stiff hymen making sexual intercourse or tampon use very painful or impossible.
- Relief of discomfort that comes from sexual intercourse. Most women choose to have surgery done on their hymen because sexual intercourse has not been able to thoroughly break or stretch the hymen so as to make sex comfortable or pleasurable. When the hymen is worked on, however, after the healing period is complete, a woman can enjoy very satisfactory sex life. It may be, too, that her hymen has remained intact enough where sexual intercourse actually aggravates the urethra and can cause recurrent bladder infections. In this case, too, surgery on the hymen can bring a lifetime of relief.
- Avoid health problems associated with menstrual flow. In girls and young women just starting their menstrual cycle, they may find that surgery on the hymen is necessary for the proper flow of blood. Some girls have no opening at all in the hymen, and so to avoid serious medical conditions and even death that can result from the build-up of menstrual blood in the vaginal cavity, surgery on the hymen is crucial.
- Ability to use tampons. Along with the last point, a woman can use tampons much more easily and freely once surgery on the hymen is done. Some women have never been able to use a tampon due to the inability to insert it because of the hymen or fear that it may catch on tissue that may stretch across the vagina. Thus, the procedure brings much comfort and more ease to life when a woman can now use a tampon – think of times you’ve needed to use one when swimming, wearing a bathing suit, or other times!
- Expense/lack of insurance. One of the biggest issues for all people usually comes down to finances or medical insurance’s lack of coverage for the procedure needed. The procedure itself is not that expensive, but it may just be too much for some.
- Discomfort after the procedure. It is true, once the procedure is done and over with, you will experience burning for two months or so later during urination. Your vaginal area is healing itself during this period, and things can be rather uncomfortable. As mentioned, you should probably expect to be uncomfortable for about two months or so.
- Refrain from vaginal sex. For at least two months after the procedure, the woman must refrain from vaginal sex. She is healing, and there should be no aggravation to this healing process. This can be difficult for some people, especially the man, and especially so if vaginal intercourse is the way the two are used to pleasing one another sexually.
How Is a Hymenotomy Done?
Most hymenotomy procedures are done in a matter of hours. A woman will be administered anesthesia along with a local injection that will numb the vaginal opening. The doctor will then carefully cut away part or all of the webbing covering the vaginal opening, some women prefer part of the webbing to be left in place. This may be a matter of personal preference or for religious reasons. The wounds are then stitched with a fine absorbable suture. These sutures will dissolve on their own.
Women usually experience a fairly fast recovery period. You must keep the area as clean and as dry as possible. Mild cramping and pain are common, and Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs can be taken for uterine cramping. Topical lidocaine jelly is recommended for the vaginal orifice. The patient is instructed to apply the jelly sparingly to the area a few minutes prior to urinating and as needed for soreness. Baths are ok and, in fact, may provide some soothing comfort and help keep the area clean.
Patients and/or parents should call their doctor if they experience severe cramping unrelieved by ibuprofen or develops a fever. Infections and inflammation are possible, but they’re relatively uncommon and usually very treatable.
Make sure to schedule a postoperative office visit 1-2 weeks after your procedure. So that the doctor can check the area for signs of inflammation or infection and make sure you are healing properly.
How Long Does a Hymenotomy Procedure Take?
A hymenotomy surgery, commonly referred to as hymenectomy surgery, can be done either in the comfortable office room with oral sedation medications or in the operating room. This procedure generally takes less than an hour, and the recovery is relatively quick. The vast majority of patients can get back to their regular activities within a few days after the surgery.
Is Hymenotomy Surgery Covered by Insurance?
Normally, hymenoplasty is not covered by insurance companies, but hymenotomy is. Before undergoing this procedure, it is recommended to contact your insurance company and determine whether hymenotomy surgery is covered by your insurance plan. Our team will be more than happy to discuss all the fees involved and the financing options available.
Why Do Women Decide to Undergo Hymenectomy Surgery?
Generally, this decision is based on personal preference. It might also be the case that the decision is based on cultural, religious, therapeutic, and sexual needs. Some women go for hymenotomy for the purpose of restructuring their hymen to restore them to a vaginal state. Other women opt for this surgery if their hymen or hymenal remnants cause irritation or pain during sex or if they do not like the appearance of this area.
How to Prepare for Hymenotomy Surgery?
Make sure to tell your doctor about all the drugs, herbs, or supplements that you used to take or are currently taking. It is a very important detail as some medications might cause complications during the procedure. To be more specific, you should stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen, warfarin, and any other drugs that might make it hard for your blood to clot. Your doctor will let you know about the medications that you can still use on the day of the hymenectomy procedure.
What Are the Risks and Complications of Hymen Repair Surgery?
Just like any other surgical intervention, hymenotomy also carries a certain degree of risk. Some potential complications might include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Painful scar tissue afterward
- Injury to the tube that passes urine
Do you have questions? Would like to schedule an appointment with the top Hymenotomy specialist, please contact our Brooklyn Heights office.
Dr. Amir Marashi, MD
Brooklyn GYN Place
142 Joralemon Street, Suite 4CF
Brooklyn, NY 11201