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Clitoral Reconstructive Surgery After Female Genital Mutilation: A Systematic Review

2 April 2021

Publication Date
02 April 2021

Original Abstract

Objective: To summarize available evidence on clitoral reconstruction after Female genital mutilations/cut (FGM/C).

Study design: Systematic review of the literature to identify studies on clitoral reconstruction after previous FGM/C with at least 6 months of follow-up. The literature search was performed in the following databases: PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Library. The period considered was from the database inception to June 30th, 2020.

Main outcome measures: Post-operative vulvar pain or dyspareunia, changes in sexual activity or orgasm, and the impact on self-image.

Results: We identified 8 studies; four used the same “Foldès technique”, and four adopted similar techniques based on the downward mobilization of the clitoral stump, with different reconstructions of glans and prepuce. The postoperative complication rate was reported at 5.3%. Sexual function is the only outcome investigated by all studies, which consistently suggest that clitoral reconstruction appear effective to improve clitoral pleasure/orgasm. Almost all studies assessed self-image, which appears improved. Only 2 studies provided data about pain and/or dyspareunia, which were improved by clitoral reconstruction. However, the risk of bias is high. Most patients were lost at follow-up, and validated instruments to assess outcomes were used only in a minority of studies.

Conclusions: Although clitoral reconstructive surgery for FGM/C appears safe and effective, caution is required to interpret available evidence due to significant limitations. Further studies are required to compare the proposed techniques and to confirm the effectiveness in terms of vulvar pain and/or dyspareunia, sexual activity and/or orgasm, and self-image improvement.

Auricchio, A., Garzon, S., Pomini, P., Laganà, A.S., Casarin, J., Cromi, A., Ghezzi, F. Vigato, E. & Franchi, M. (2021). Clitoral reconstructive surgery after female genital mutilation: a systematic review. Sexual & Reproductive Healthcare. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.srhc.2021.100619

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circumcision, female, reconstructive surgical procedure, clitoris, dyspareunia, sexuality, body-image


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