Surgeons of Assis Chateaubriand Maternity School, Brazil, performed vaginal reconstructions with fish skin on four women born without cervix, uterus or ovaries. Mrs. Marinho was the first to undergo the procedure.
Before use, the fish skin is subjected to a special cleaning and sterilization process, followed by radiation exposure to kill viruses.
The process removes all dandruff and skin odor, leaving the skin behind a light gel bandage that can be stored in refrigerated, sterile packaging for up to two years.
Tilapia fish skin is used in surgery
Why is the fish skin method used?
The "fish skin method" is considered to be less invasive than the traditional technique of making a vaginal canal using skin grafts from the patient's groin
Dr. Leonardo Bezerra of Assis Chateaubriand Maternity School said: "This procedure can be time consuming and painful as the patient has to recover after a large incision that leaves an unsightly and stigmatizing scar.  & # 39; There is also the possibility of discomfort with the reconstructed tissue. & # 39;
The corneal surgery also has a faster recovery rate with no visible scars or risks of rejection or infection.
Typically, patients can walk about 12 days, replacing the mold with silicone or a sponge for comfort.
Traditional surgery requires that patients spend weeks in hospital and essentially learn to walk again.
What does the procedure include?
Dr. Bezerra said: "To make the" new vagina ", we put a vagina-shaped acrylic mold, lined with the skin of Tilapia, in the space created between the bladder and the rectum.
& # 39; The unit stays there for ten days to prevent the walls from closing.
& # 39; During this time, the skin of the tilapia is absorbed and the cells and growth factors released by the membrane transform like stem cells into the patient's tissue cells.
"Finally, the patient's body completely integrates the tilapia skin, making it biocompatible.
"The fish skin stimulates cell growth and the formation of blood vessels and creates a new channel that corresponds to an actual vagina."
Why are Tilapia fish used?
Tilapia fish are easily accessible in Brazilian rivers and farms.
Their typically discarded skin contains a lot of moisture and is rich in collagen, which promotes healing.
It is also disease resistant and as strong as human skin.
Tilapia skin has been used to heal more than 200 victims of severe burns without the use of gauze, which requires regular replacement.