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Other namesHymen reconstruction surgery

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.[citation needed]

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]


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]

Availability and legality[edit]

Some hymen reconstruction operations are legal in some countries, while other countries ban all hymenorrhaphy.[4] For example, in 2020 in the Netherlands the professional surgeon associations adjusted their codes to prohibit hymenorrhaphy, and the government stated it would consider a legal ban if practice continues. The number of women undergoing the operation in the country at the time was estimated as several hundreds per year.[5] The United Kingdom intends to criminalise "aiding and abetting" women to undergo the procedure along with virginity testing in its 2021 Health and Care Bill.[6]

The operation is popular in Middle Eastern countries, in particular in Iran, where women are expected to keep virginity until their wedding night. Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Sadeq Rohani has issued a fatwa which permits hymenorrhaphy and considers a woman after the operation to be virgin.[7]

See also[edit]


  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. ^ "Dutch gov't to stop hymen restoration surgeries; recognizing child marriages". nl.times. 19 February 2020.
  6. ^ Sandhu, Rajdeep (2022-01-25). "Hymen repair surgery and virginity testing to be banned in UK". BBC News. Retrieved 2022-01-27.
  7. ^ Afary, Janet (12 May 2009). "Recreating virginity in Iran". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2017.

External links[edit]

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