A Brazilian woman has undergone successful vaginal reconstruction surgery after doctors built one out of fish skin.
Jucilene Marinho, 23, was born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hause (MRKH) which left her with no cervix, uterus or ovaries, meaning she could never have children.
She under underwent neovaginoplasty in April last year, a procedure that involved creating an opening where her vagina should have been before inserting a genital-shaped mould lined with the skin of the freshwater fish tilapia.
The fish skin then absorbed into her body and transformed into tissue that lines the vaginal tract.
Jucilene was one of three patients to undergo the procedure performed at the Federal University of Ceara in Brazil, and she was thrilled with the results, “my family and friends took me out to “toast” my new vagina!”
She was also grateful for the procedure as it allowed her to engage in an intimate relationship with her boyfriend of over a year, Marcus Santos, “it was a wonderful moment because everything worked perfectly. There was no pain just a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction.”
Surgeons in Brazil believe the fish-skin method is a better option for vaginal reconstruction surgery as opposed to the traditional technique of creating a vaginal canal using skin grafts from patients’ groins.
Dr Leonardo Bezerra, from the Assis Chateaubriand Maternity School, explained why he opts against skin grafts when it comes to vaginal surgery, “this procedure can be time consuming and painful as the patient needs to recover from a large incision which leaves a scar that can be unsightly and stigmatising. There is also the possibility of discomfort with the reconstructed tissue.”