A woman whose vagina had become so narrow that she could not have sex has undergone successful surgery to have it artificially reconstructed using a pig’s intestine.
The unidentified Czech woman had been sent for treatment after her gynecologist found her vagina was so narrow that it was not even possible to conduct an examination.
The patient was referred to the University Hospital in Plzen, in the western Czech Republic. Doctors there decided to operate after discovering that a similar surgery involving pig intestines could be used on people who had a narrow bladder.
1. The woman had been sent for treatment because her vagina was so narrow it was impossible for her gynaecologist to carry out an examination (image source: Wikimedia).
However, they were unable to find any literature or evidence that such a surgery had ever been used to help someone like the young woman, according the news agency CEN.
The woman had reported the issue after suffering from scleroderma — a condition which produces hard, thickened areas of skin and sometimes causes problems with internal organs and blood vessels.
The condition can also cause a woman’s vaginal opening to constrict, making sexual intercourse harder, and can also lead to a decreased sexual lubrication.
To help the woman, the doctors decided to operate using a technique called a Mesh Augmented Vaginal Reconstruction, which is usually performed on women who have suffered a pelvic organ prolapse and who are suffering from symptoms such as urinary incontinence.
As prolapse is associated with weakened internal supportive structures, a graft may be inserted to strengthen the repair. It may be made of natural tissue, such as human donor skin, or of pig intestine.
Pig tissue is often used because its genetic structure is similar to that of humans. For more than 30 years, scientists have been using pigs in various medical fields, such as dermatology and cardiology.
Scientists have even managed to successfully re-grow human leg muscles using implants made of pig bladder tissue.
During the surgery on the Czech patient, the doctors made an incision to enlarge the narrowed area and then used the mesh made from a pig’s intestine to widen the walls of the woman’s vagina.
Following the operation, the surgeons are planning to publish a scientific paper on the technique. Vladimir Kalis, head doctor of the gynaecological-obstetrical clinic at the hospital, told CEN:
Two years ago, the woman started to have problems during sex.
The illness had narrowed the vaginal entrance so much that even gynecological examinations were not possible.
2. Dr. Vladimir Kalis (right), who treated the patient, said many women suffer the same problem — but are too embarrassed to ask for help.
Dr. Kalis added that many women suffer with the same problem, but most are too embarrassed to talk about it or ask for help. He said:
In the case of the patient we operated on, she had been given various medications by her gynecologist but nothing helped, so she referred to us.
Dr. Kalis acknowledged that vaginal surgery was uncommon and was typically performed for the opposite problem. He added:
The material used is referred to as pig net. Its thickness is about one millimeter.
Over time human tissue will be created around the net and the pig net will be absorbed by the body.
Dr. Kalis said that the surgery lasted for about one hour and the patient left hospital five days later. He said:
The patient is very happy now. The gynecological examinations are not painful any more.
And although we have advised her not to engage in sexual activity at the moment, she should be able to recover a full and active sex life in about two years.
Basically, she feels like a woman again.
Gabriela Levorova, a spokeswoman for the hospital, confirmed that doctors had not been able to find any reference to a similar surgery carried out anywhere else in the world and believed it was the first of its kind. She said:
If there was anywhere else, as far as we can find out they never published anything about it.
It seems we are the first to publish the results of such as surgery in a professional medical publication.
Source: The Daily Mail.
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