n Obstetrics and Gynaecology Forum - Female genital mutilation - an update : review

Volume 25 Number 4
  • ISSN : 1027-9148



Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a cultural practice involving several types of external female genitalia cutting. The tradition is most prevalent in 29 countries in Africa and the Middle East. It comprises various procedures which damage or remove the external female genital organs for no medical reason. There are no known health benefits and FGM has been recognised to cause both short and long term physical and psychological damage. Generally, the risks and complications associated with different types are similar, but they tend to be significantly more severe and prevalent the more extensive the procedure. Owing to migration, the practice of FGM has been gaining attention and globally health care practitioners are increasingly confronted with this issue. This review aims to provide an overview of the most recent statistics on FGM, the serious short-term and long-term physical, obstetric and psychological complications, defibulation technique and the law in South Africa.

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