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Imperforate hymen in your adolescent patient: Don’t miss the diagnosis

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Septate/microperforate/cribiform hymen

These other hymeneal anomalies also may require surgical correction if they become clinically significant. Patients may present with difficulty inserting or removing a tampon, insertional dyspareunia, or incomplete drainage of menstrual blood.6

Imaging is usually not indicated to diagnose these hymenal anomalies, as physical examination will reveal a patent vaginal tract. A moistened Q-tip can be placed into the orifice or behind the septate hymen for confirmation (FIGURE 6).

Surgical correction of a microperforate or cribiform hymen is performed using the same principles as imperforate hymen.

Surgical correction of a septate hymen involves tying and suturing or clamping with a hemostat the upper and lower edges, with the excess hymenal tissue between the sutures then excised.8

Figure 6. Septate hymen

Postop care and follow up

Postoperative analgesia with lidocaine jelly or ice packs is usually sufficient for pain management. Reinforce proper hygienic care measures. At 2- to 3-week follow up, assess the patient for healing and evaluate the size of the hymenal orifice.

Key takeaways

-Differentiating imperforate hymen from low transverse vaginal septum or distal vaginal agenesis prior to surgery is of utmost importance because management is very different, and performing the wrong procedure can result in serious morbidity.

-With imperforate hymen, examination of the external genitalia reveals a perineal bulge secondary to hematocolpos.

-Pelvic MRI is essential to delineate the anatomy with both vaginal septum and agenesis, for preoperative evaluation of location and thickness of septum as well as measurement of total length of agenesis.

-Hymenectomy is relatively straightforward and may be performed using a cruciate, elliptical, or u-incision.

-Care should be taken to prevent excision of hymeneal tissue too close to the vaginal mucosa, as this can lead to scarring and stenosis, and later lead to dyspareunia.


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