News out of Shanghai has it that surgical reconstruction of the hymen, also known as hymenorrhaphy or hymenoplasty, has emerged as the latest hot trend in plastic surgery in China.
Women there are increasingly requesting to become "born again virgins" using a procedure nicknamed both "revirginity" and "revirgination."
While not new, the procedure is illegal in some Muslim countries and so has attracted medical tourists from afar. But even women from East Asia are now seeking out the procedure to add on the "lure" of marrying a virgin or as a "gift" to a husband on, for instance, a special anniversary.
The goal of the surgery is to allow bleeding to occur after intercourse for the "first" time. The hymen is recreated by either sewing the remains of the tissue back together again (a fragile fix lasting only a few days) or by grafting tissue from the patient's own vaginal lining into place.
As the article notes, the procedure "seems to put women's rights back some 40 years," although it may be of true value where long-standing cultural expectations cannot be met after cases of rape or sexual abuse.
The simplest form of the surgery takes about 30 minutes and costs in the range of $750 U.S. when performed in China, while the more elaborate approach employing tissue grafting can be priced up to $6,000+ in the United States.
As with other vaginal rejuvenation operations, hymen reconstruction is most typically performed by gynecologists rather than plastic surgeons.