Dr Ivona Percec, an assistant professor of surgery and the associate director of cosmetic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, has successfully performed three FGM reconstructive procedures to date using her medical technique, which was outlined in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal in March. She also calls for greater awareness of this human rights issue in support of women who’ve suffered these experiences across the world.

According to an interview with Penn Medicine, the three patients were all women between the ages of 30 and 33 who reportedly had emotional and physical consequences from FGM, which they had each endured as non-consenting children.

The three women had all immigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone, and as a result of FGM, had reported embarrassment and pain during sex.

None of the victims’ husbands knew they were victims of FGM.

“All of them were able to have intercourse, but without pleasure – usually with pain,” Percec reported to Penn Medicine.

Percec’s surgeries involved separating the labia majora, which were connected by scar tissue, then suturing them to make sure they did not re-adhere to each other. The clitoris, or its remnant, which is naturally covered in mucosa tissue, was left raw to let it regenerate the mucosa on its own. This also prevented excessive scarring and made it more likely for sensation to return to the area.

“The other key was treatment after the surgery, which included an antibiotic and pain-reducing ointment twice each day,” Percec said. “It’s a naturally sensitive area anyway, so using that ointment was important until the clitoris healed and formed its own mucosa again.”

With an average follow-up of almost a year, all three patients reported improved sexual function and decreased embarrassment with their partners. All three women said they would recommend this procedure to others who have suffered FGM.

“Female genital mutilation is a violation of the basic rights of women and children,” Percec said. “As
nations around the world work to eliminate this custom, plastic surgeons can play an important role in the physical, emotional, and psychological recovery of women everywhere.”

Source: Penn Medicine News, pennmedicine.org

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