A 23-year-old university student who was born without a vagina, has become the first in the world to undergo pioneering surgery that constructed a new vaginal canal out of fish skin.
According to Mirror, the operation took place at the Federal University of Ceara (UFC), Brazil. The girl was diagnosed in her teens with having no cervix, uterus, ovaries or womb.
Jucilene Marinho has now spoken for the first time and talked about how the revolutionary operation using skin of the tilapia fish has changed her life and allowed her to have sex for the first time.
The unorthodox treatment, which was led by gynaecologist, Dr Leonardo Bezerra, is faster, cheaper and less aggressive than the conventional method used for sufferers of Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH). The revolutionary treatment involves opening a space between the vagina and anus and inserting a tubular mould lined with the skin of the freshwater fish.
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 that of an actual vagina.
Before being used, the fish skin undergoes a special cleaning and sterilisation process in the lab followed by irradiation to kill viruses.
The process removes all the scales and fish smell and results in a light-coloured gel dressing that can be stored for up to two years in refrigerated sterile packaging.