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Female genital cutting (circumcision)

Nawal M Nour, MD, MPH
Section Editor
William J Mann, Jr, MD
Deputy Editor
Sandy J Falk, MD, FACOG


Female genital cutting, also known as female circumcision or genital mutilation, is a culturally determined practice, predominantly performed in parts of Africa and Asia and affecting more than 125 million women and girls worldwide [1]. Immigration patterns have caused clinicians throughout the world to increasingly encounter women who have experienced this practice [2,3]. It is imperative that these providers understand the health and social issues related to female genital cutting so that they can manage the immediate and long-term complications of the procedure.

The role of the clinician in the care of women who have undergone a female genital cutting procedure will be reviewed here.


Female genital cutting refers to the manipulation or removal of external genital organs in girls and women. The World Health Organization classified female genital cutting into four types of procedures.

Type I consists of excision of the prepuce, with or without excision of part or all of the clitoris.

Type II involves clitoridectomy and partial or total excision of the labia minora.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: May 19, 2016.
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