May 31, 5: A Brazilian woman, born without a vagina, has become the first in the world to undergo pioneering reconstructive surgery that successfully created a new vaginal canal using the skin of tilapia fish.
Leonardo Bezerra, revealed the unprecedented procedure, called a neovaginoplasty, was performed on Jucilene Marinho, 23, in April The revolutionary treatment involves opening a space between the vagina and anus and inserting a tubular mold lined with the skin of the freshwater fish.
Before being used, the fish skin undergoes a special cleaning and sterilization process in the lab followed by irradiation to kill viruses. The process removes all the scales and fish smell and results in a light-colored gel dressing that can be stored for up to two years in refrigerated sterile packaging.
The young university student from Lavras da Mangabeira was diagnosed in her teens with having no cervix, uterus, ovaries or womb. At the age of 15 she was given the crushing news there was nothing but connective tissue behind the skin blocking the opening of her vagina. She spiraled into a deep depression fearing she would never experience an intimate and loving relationship.
This worsened when a teenage boyfriend mocked and broke up with her after discovering the disorder. But last year, six months after agreeing to become the first of four women to have the experimental procedure, Marinho had sex for the first time in her life with her partner Marcus Santos, 24, who she has been with for over a year and who has supported her throughout.
But it was a wonderful moment because everything worked perfectly. There was no pain just a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction.
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Some 23 patients have undergone the conventional treatment at MEAC over the past ten years. By comparison, neovaginaplasty has a faster recovery rate with no visible scars.
There are minimal complications with no risk of rejection or infections, the doctor said. Research shows that tilapia skin, normally thrown away as a waste product, contains large amounts of moisture and is rich in collagen type 1, a protein that promotes healing.
It is disease resistant and as strong and resilient as human skin.
Sincescientists at the UFC Research and Development of Medicines Nucleus coordinated by Professor Odorico Moraes, have been trialing a radical procedure that uses the moisture-filled skin of the freshwater fish to heal more than victims with severe burns — with notable success. The normal regime is painful and involves regular changes of gauze bandages along with painkillers and ointments.