The revolutionary treatment neovaginoplasty involved medics opening a space between the vagina and anus. Before inserting a tubular mould lined with the fish skin.
Jucilene Marinho, 23, from Ceará, Brazil, underwent a neovaginoplasty in April last year. After being born with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hause (MRKH) syndrome. It left her with no cervix, uterus or ovaries.
The procedure, performed at the Federal University of Ceara involved creating an opening where Ms Marinho’s vagina should have been before inserting a genital-shaped mould lined with the skin of the freshwater fish tilapia.
Fish Skin Method with Neovaginoplasty
The ‘fish-skin method’ considered less invasive than the traditional technique. Creating a vaginal canal using skin grafts from patients’ groins. The fish-skin surgery also has a faster recovery rate with no visible scars, or risks of rejection or infections.
Patients are typically able to walk after around 12 days, with the mould being replaced with silicone or a sponge for comfort. Once in contact with the patient’s body, tilapia skin acts like stem cells and is absorbed and transformed into cellular tissue forming the walls of the canal, similar to an actual vagina.
The fish skin cleaned and sterilized in the lab, before irradiation to kill viruses. The device remains there for 10 days to prevent the walls from closing.
‘During this period the skin of the tilapia absorbed. The cells and growth factors released by the membrane transforms, like stem cells, into the patient’s tissue cells.
‘Finally, the patient’s body completely incorporates the tilapia skin becoming bio compatible with it.
The fish skin stimulates cellular growth and the formation of blood vessels and creates a new canal equal to that of an actual vagina. Many women are able to create a vaginal canal using dilation treatment, which uses cylinder shaped dilators of different sizes to stretch the muscles.
However, if unsuccessful then surgery used to stretch the vaginal canal.
Following treatment women are able to have intercourse. Can have eggs removed and fertilized used in surrogacy. However, those without ovaries won’t ever be able to have children because they don’t produce any eggs.