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Procedure Might Ease Pain of Female Genital Mutilation
Date:6/12/2012

TUESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Reconstructive surgery may help ease the pain of women who have suffered female genital mutilation, a new study finds.

Female genital mutilation, or FGM, "includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs" for cultural or non-medical reasons, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO declares that female genital mutilation "is a violation of the human rights of girls and women."

In the new study, published online June 11 in The Lancet, researchers from France found that a new surgical technique could allow women who have been subjected to this type of mutilation to experience sexual pleasure. They noted, however, reconstructive surgery is often not an option for women who have had their external female genitalia (such as the clitoris) partially or totally removed.

"Our findings show that clitoral reconstruction after FGM is feasible. It can certainly improve women's pleasure and lessen their pain. It also allows mutilated women to recover their identity," the inventor of the surgical technique, Pierre Foldes from Poissy Saint Germain Hospital, explained in a journal news release.

"However, women with FGM rarely have access to reconstructive surgery to improve their lives, and in most developed and all developing countries surgery remains prohibitively expensive," added the study leaders Beatrice Cuzin from Edouard Herriot University Hospital in Lyon, and Armelle Andro from Pantheon Sorbonne University in Paris.

In conducting the study, the researchers examined the immediate and long-term outcomes of nearly 3,000 surgeries involving mutilated women who underwent a new surgical procedure to reconstruct their clitoris and restore its function.

The women were asked about the pain in their genitals as well as their sexual pleasure before their surgery and one year after they had the new procedure.

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