Scientific article

Surgical Treatments of Chronic Vulvar Pain After Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting

Published inThe journal of sexual medicine, vol. 19, no. 2, p. 290-301
Publication date2022-02
First online date2022-01-06

Background: Vulvar and in particular clitoral pain can affect women with Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). To date, there is no comprehensive study on the different available treatments for vulvar pain after FGM/C.

Aim: To study the outcome of surgical treatments of vulvar and/or clitoral pain among women living with FGM/C.

Methods: Retrospective review of the consecutive medical files of all 506 women who consulted at a specialized outpatient clinic for women with FGM/C between April 1, 2010 and December 31, 2017.

Outcome: Subjective change in chronic vulvar pain after surgical treatment.

Results: In total, 36.1% of women (n = 183) experienced chronic pain, all types included, among which 2.8% (n = 14) experienced provoked or unprovoked chronic vulvar pain. Among the 14 women with provoked or unprovoked chronic vulvar pain, ten (71.4%) underwent surgical treatment: 7 underwent resection of vulvar scar complications (cysts, bridles, adhesions) with (n = 4) or without (n = 3) concomitant defibulation, 3 had clitoral reconstruction and one had labium reconstruction with removal of peri-clitoral adhesion. Nine out of ten (90%) experienced resolution of pain after surgery and the remaining woman (10%) was lost to follow-up.

Clinical implications: Safe and effective surgical treatments exist and patients with chronic vulvar pain post-FGM/C should be referred to specialists who would consider appropriate indications for surgery and support informed decision-making and treatment.

Strengths & limitations: The strengths of this research are the big sample size of women from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds, as well as the availability of pre- and postsurgery iconographic material and histology. Limitations include a subjective reporting of pain without validated questionnaires.

Conclusion: Effective surgical treatments for provoked or unprovoked chronic vulvar pain post-FGM/C are clitoral reconstruction, defibulation, cystectomy, and bridle removal. Surgical treatments should be combined with a culturally sensitive multidisciplinary care and follow-up.

  • Clitoral Reconstruction
  • Cystectomy
  • Defibulation
  • Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
  • Infibulation
  • Labial Reconstruction
  • Scar Tissue Resection
  • Vulvar Pain
  • Chronic Pain / etiology
  • Chronic Pain / surgery
  • Circumcision, Female / adverse effects
  • Clitoris / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures
  • Vulvodynia / etiology
  • Vulvodynia / surgery
Citation (ISO format)
BAZZOUN, Yara, AERTS, Leen, ABDULCADIR, Jasmine. Surgical Treatments of Chronic Vulvar Pain After Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting. In: The journal of sexual medicine, 2022, vol. 19, n° 2, p. 290–301. doi: 10.1016/j.jsxm.2021.11.010
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1743-6095

Technical informations

Creation10/06/2022 10:12:11 AM
First validation06/21/2023 3:14:28 PM
Update time06/21/2023 3:14:28 PM
Status update06/21/2023 3:14:28 PM
Last indexation08/31/2023 11:49:04 AM
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