MRKH, or “Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome” is a disorder that affects 1 in 5,000 women. Although you are born with it, it is not hereditary, and is not passed on from your parents. It is a birth defect that may appear in women with kidney, skeletal and hearing disorders. Treatment for MRKH involves vaginal reconstruction by an expert reconstructive surgeon.
What is MRKH?
MRKH can cause the vagina and uterus to either be absent or underdeveloped. Externally, the genitalia can appear relatively normal. A woman with MRKH has normally functioning ovaries and all normal female chromosomes. Many women are diagnosed with MRKH when they reach the age that they should begin to menstruate.
Upon a medical examination, it is found that they are lacking a vaginal canal or possess a very short vaginal canal that would make intercourse impossible. This can be emotionally disturbing for many young women. Fortunately, the neovagina is a safe and effective procedure that can restore sexual function.
What is Neovagina?
Neovagina is a surgical procedure that creates a vaginal canal for those that have MRKH. Several surgical procedures exist to create a neovagina. The following types of procedures can be used on those with MRKH:
- McIndoe procedure: The McIndoe procedure creates a neovagina using a skin graft (generally from the buttocks). This procedure can carry a week of downtime to ensure that the neovagina heals properly.
- Williams procedure: This involves the creation of a vaginal pouch. It is sometimes utilized when other surgical procedures are no longer an option. There is less control over the angle of the vagina and the appearance may not be as aesthetic as with other neovagina surgeries.
- Bowel vagina: This is considered a major operation that involves using a section of the bowel to create the neovagina. The recovery for bowel vagina surgery can extend up to 6 weeks in some cases.
- Laparoscopy-Vecchietti procedure: This procedure requires the usage of dilators and a surgical procedure. It involves using a traction device that is placed outside the abdomen. A small bead is placed inside the vagina and the vaginal cavity is formed using continual pressure over the next 7-10 days.
- Davydov procedure: This procedure involves the use of your peritoneal lining (the membrane that lines the abdomen). An incision is made where the vaginal canal is going to be formed. Another incision is then made near the belly button. The peritoneal lining is then stitched to create the vaginal opening and canal. Dilators must be used for a short time after surgery. This surgery is often performed laparoscopically (minimally invasive using small incisions).
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