Hymenorrhaphy or hymen reconstruction surgery is the temporary surgical restoration of the hymen.[1] The term comes from the Greek words hymen meaning "membrane", and raphḗ meaning "suture". It is also known as hymenoplasty, although strictly this term would also include hymenotomy.

Other namesHymen reconstruction surgery

Such procedures are not generally regarded as part of mainstream gynecology, but are available from some plastic surgery centers, particularly in the United States, Middle East, South Korea and Western Europe, generally as outpatient surgery. The normal aim is to cause bleeding during post-nuptial intercourse, which in some cultures is considered proof of virginity.[2]

Varieties of the operationEdit

The term may cover at least three significantly different types of procedure:

  • Suturing of a tear in the hymen such as might be caused by sexual assault, soon after the assault, to facilitate healing.[citation needed]
  • A purely cosmetic procedure in which a membrane without blood supply is created, sometimes including a gelatine capsule of an artificial bloodlike substance. This operation is intended to be performed within a few days before an intended marriage.[3]
  • Use of a flap of the vaginal lining, complete with its blood supply, to create a new hymen. Patients are advised to refrain from penetrative sex for up to three months following this procedure.[citation needed]

Availability and legalityEdit

  • Some hymen reconstruction operations are legal in some countries, while other countries ban all hymenorrhaphy.[4]
  • In the United States of America, hymen restoration is available in private clinics and becoming more common.[citation needed]
  • In France, some of the cost is reimbursed by the state in cases of rape or trauma.[citation needed]
  • The operation is popular in Middle Eastern countries, in particular, in Iran, where women are expected to keep virginity until the wedding night. Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Sadeq Rohani has issued a fatwa which permits hymenorrhaphy and considers a woman after the operation to be virgin.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Hymen Repair (hymenoplasty and hymenorrhaphy)". Archived from the original on 2017-04-08. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  2. ^ Deuteronomy 22:13-19 (The Message)
  3. ^ Paterson-Brown, Sara (1998-02-07). "Should doctors reconstruct the vaginal introitus of adolescent girls to mimic the virginal state? Education about the hymen is needed". BMJ. 316 (7129): 461. doi:10.1136/bmj.316.7129.461. PMC 2665576. PMID 9492680.
  4. ^ "Girls' secrets aired in Egypt". BBC News. May 5, 2001. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  5. ^ Afary, Janet (12 May 2009). "Recreating virginity in Iran". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2017.

External linksEdit

  • Pediatrics article discusses healing of hymen injuries.
  • NewHymen.dk - information and counselling on hymen surgery in the context of tradition and family pressure.