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Now, virginity can be restored!

Forget Botox, liposuction or breast enlargement. The newest trend in plastic surgery for US women is vaginal reconstruction, including hymenoplasty, which offers patients new virginity.

tabloid Updated: Jan 11, 2006 11:04 IST
AFP
AFP
None

Forget Botox, liposuction or breast enlargement. The newest trend in plastic surgery for US women is vaginal reconstruction, including hymenoplasty, which offers patients new virginity.

The procedure, also known as "revirgination", is being hawked in magazines, the Internet or on radio stations as a way for women to improve their sex life or enjoy a second honeymoon.

Jeanette Yarborough, a medical assistant from San Antonio, Texas, said she decided to undergo hymenoplasty, which involves reattaching the hymen, as a special gift for her husband on their 16th wedding anniversary.

"You know I wasn't a virgin when we got married and I thought what better gift to give my husband than revirgination," the 40-year-old mother of four told AFP. "It was a real sentimental gift, it was something I could recreate for him and he was thrilled.

"He was like 'yeah, it was worth every penny'," she said.

Though long popular among women in the Middle East and Latin America, where being chaste is important on one's wedding night, hymenoplasty is experiencing newfound popularity among US women.

One clinic boasts on its internet site that its practitioners "can repair the hymen as if nothing occurred".

Many who undergo the procedure, which costs between 1,800 and 5,000 dollars, also ask that their vaginas be tightened, doctors say.

Though there are no clear statistics, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons says vaginal surgery is one of the fastest growing trends in plastic surgery.

Esmeralda Vanegas, owner of the Ridgewood Health and Beauty Center in New York, said business was booming at her clinic with about five hymenoplasties performed every month.

"Hymenoplasty if for women who want to please their husband or their lover and they know that he wants to experience intercourse with a virgin," the Cuban-born Vanegas said.

But Dr Leroy Young, chairman of the emerging trends task force for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, said he believes hymenoplasty was more of a fad among US women, especially on the West Coast, and was not likely to become hugely popular.

"Based on what I know, I don't see this becoming a real trend," he said. "It's more of a gag gift."

He noted that unlike other genital surgery, hymenoplasty carried little risk. Nonetheless, he stressed that women should seek out board certified surgeons if they decide to undergo the procedure and should beware of clinics offering vaginal surgery that are proliferating around the country "like McDonald's".

Mary Blum, author of Flesh Wounds: The Culture of Cosmetic Surgery, expressed concern at the fact that such surgery was becoming part of mainstream America and was being marketed as a way to gain self-esteem or as part of the country's obsession with self-improvement.

"With hymenoplasty, one of the obvious problems is you're pretending nothing happened before," she said. "It falls under the heading of rejuvenation, pretending your body has no history, so now it has no sexual history."

She added that such procedures were gaining in popularity in part because they were made affordable for the masses and were being touted as a consumer product rather than as invasive, and potentially dangerous, surgery.

"It's in the domain of will I take a trip, buy a new car or get a hymenoplasty," she said.

Blum said women like Yarborough could probably make their husbands just as happy with a much cheaper and less medically intrusive option.

"She could have gotten him an inflatable doll," she said.

First Published: Jan 11, 2006 11:04 IST