Tilapia is an excellent seafood, but doctors in Brazil recently revealed that it also has an incredible medical benefit for women born without genitals.
Being Born Without Genitals
Jucilene Marinho is a 23-year-old student who lives in Brazil. She was born with a disorder called Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser syndrome, which causes a vagina and uterus to be underdeveloped or absent. In the case of Marinho, she was born without genitals. One in 5,000 newborn girls is born with this condition.
At age 15, doctors told her that she would never develop a vagina, even though her body was developing normally during puberty.
"I cried a lot when I found out," she said. "I'd always dreamed of having a baby of my own now I had to accept that wouldn't be possible."
The painful news also affected her social life and her mental well-being.
The Procedure To Receive A Vagina
In April 2017, Marinho underwent an innovative reconstructive surgery known as a neovaginoplasty. The goal of the procedure is to create a new vagina out of the skin of tilapia fish.
The surgery was conducted at the Federal University of Ceara in northeast Brazil.
Before the procedure, doctors cleaned and sterilized the tilapia skin. They also removed the scales and fish smell to create a light-colored gel dressing.
When doctors placed the skin on the patient's body, it acted like stem cells and changed into cellular tissue. This created the walls of the canal, similar to a vagina.
"This procedure can be painful as the patient needs to recover from a large incision which leaves a scar that can be unsightly and stigmatizing," said gynecologist Dr. Leonardo Bezerra.
Talpia fish skin also has other medical benefits. Doctors have previously used it to treat burn victims.
Aftermath Of This Innovative Surgery
After the surgery, Marinho spent her first three months to recuperate. By October 2017, her doctors gave her permission to have sex for the first time in her life with her supportive boyfriend, Marcus Santos.
The surgery has been seen as successful for Marinho, who is reportedly happy.
Although Marinho was the first woman to receive the experimental procedure, there have since been three other women who also received it. There is no comment about the success rate of the other patients.