A Transgender woman had a vagina constructed using the skin of a tilapia fish after her genitals began to shrink and close up following botched surgery.
According to surgeons, Maju, 35, has been the chance of a “proper sex life” and a boost of confidence thanks to the sea creature’s skin.
The highly complex procedure, called neovaginoplasty, used a tubular-shaped acrylic mould wrapped with the skin of the freshwater fish in the form of a biological prothesis to rebuild and extend the vaginal canal in a three hour operation on April 23.
The process involved inserting two separate moulds to create the new vagina. The first device, mounted with the marine membrane, was incorporated inside the vagina over a period of six days.
In contact with the patient’s body, the sterilised and odour free fish skin displays stimulatory cell growth properties. It is rich in type 1 collagen a substance that promotes healing and has a firmness and elasticity which is as strong and resilient as human skin.
The tilapia membrane attached to and recoated the walls of the vaginal canal acting like stem cells. These were absorbed into the body, transforming into cellular tissue similar to that of an actual vagina.
The second device made from silicone and described as a very ‘big tampon’ is designed to remain inside the vagina for up to six months to prevent the walls from closing.
Professor Leonardo Bezerra said to FocusOn News: “We were able create a vagina of physiological length, both in thickness and by enlarging it, and the patient has recovered extremely well. She is walking around with ease, has no pain and is urinating normally. In a couple months we believe she will be able to have sexual intercourse.”
The device can be removed after this period as and when desired.
The process is being hailed as yet another breakthrough in gynaecological surgery which is tackling sensitive predicaments using the aquatic animal skin, normally thrown away as waste, as a substitute for human regenerative tissue.
Speaking to FocusOn News the transsexual patient revealed she decided to transition 20 years ago, with the support of her family, after realising in her early teens that she was a woman living in a man’s body.
Maju said: “I was the fourth person in Brazil in 1999 to have, what was then, experimental surgery. But ten years ago I developed vaginal stenosis. The opening of my vagina started to get narrower and shorter and the canal collapsed.”