Tilapia fish skin as a new biologic graft for neovaginoplasty in Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome: a video case report

Use of Nile tilapia skin as a scaffold for the proliferation of new vaginal epithelium offered, to this patient, a successful anatomic and functional neovagina by means of a simple, safe, easy, effective, quick, and minimally invasive procedure.

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Volume 112, Issue 1, Pages 174–176


Maria Tereza Pinto Medeiros Dias, M.D., Edmar Maciel Lima Júnior, M.D., M.S., Ana Paula Negreiros Nunes Alves, B.Dent., Ph.D., Andreisa Paiva Monteiro Bilhar, M.D., Ph.D., Livia Cunha Rios, M.D., Bruno Almeida Costa, B.M., Eduarda Syhara Rocha Matos, B.M., Ana Cecília Venancio, B.M., Zenilda Vieira Bruno, M.D., Ph.D., Manoel Odorico de Moraes Filho, M.D., Ph.D., Leonardo Robson Pinheiro Sobreira Bezerra, M.D., Ph.D.



To describe a McIndoe procedure technique for surgical management of Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome with the use of Nile tilapia skin as a scaffold for the proliferation of new vaginal epithelium.


Surgical video article. Local Institutional Review Board approval and written permission from the patient were obtained. There were no conflicts of interest.


University hospital.


A 17-year-old woman who presented at our gynecology department with the complaint of primary amenorrhea. At physical examination, she had a phenotypically normal vulva with no vaginal canal. Magnetic resonance imaging of the abdomen and pelvis revealed normal ovaries and absence of uterus and vaginal canal. No other congenital malformations were found. Karyotype was 46,XX.


The McIndoe procedure involved only a vaginal approach. Labia minora were separated, and a transverse midline incision of 3 cm was made. The vesicorectal space was progressively dissected. Blunt dissection was performed initially with digital separation of tissues. The neovagina was then inspected with the introduction of a vaginal speculum, allowing for review of hemostasis. Blunt dissection was continued with the aid of the speculum, to reach the appropriate vaginal dimensions. Subsequently, a vaginal acrylic mold covered with two pieces of processed and sterilized tilapia fish skin was inserted and accommodated into the newly created cavity. The external side of the tilapia skin, which maintained its grayish coloration after the removal of the scales, stayed in contact with the acrylic mold, while the white internal side of the tilapia skin, which was previously attached to the fish's muscle, stayed in contact with the walls of the neocavity. The mold was held in position by four multifilament polyglactin 1.0 sutures in the labia majora, thus preventing expulsion.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Anatomic data, such as measurement of the final canal length, and histomorphologic analysis, 180 days after surgery.


The patient remained on bed rest for 9 days, after which the tilapia fish skin had been partially reabsorbed. After this time, the acrylic mold was removed. A larger plastic mold was then inserted and the patient was advised to wear it day and night for the first postoperative month. The vaginal mold had to be worn each night until normal sexual intercourse was possible. The final canal length 180 days after surgery was between 8 and 9 cm. For the histopathologic analysis, fragments of the lateral vaginal wall were removed 180 days after surgery and showed the presence of stratified squamous epithelium with five cell layers, ectasic blood vessels, and occasional desquamated epithelial cells.


The procedure described offered this patient an anatomic and functional neovagina by means of a simple, safe, easy, effective, quick, and minimally invasive procedure. Limitations include the experimental nature of this study, based on a single case report with no long-term outcome results. The tilapia fish skin is a low-cost and widely available biomaterial.


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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.