Annemarie Middelburg does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. Her work as a gynaecological surgeon over the past 25 years has made her one of the leaders in this field — and also in restoring sexual function in clitorises. She is one of only a handful of surgeons who performs this surgery on women who have suffered female genital mutilation FGM or cutting. Reconstructive surgery to repair the physical damage of FGM has been around a long time. His idea was to not only reconstruct the clitoris, but also nerve networks to restore sexual sensation. FGM is the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons.
A hair tourniquet resulting in strangulation and amputation of the clitoris
Clitoridectomy - Wikipedia
Female genital mutilation FGM , also known as female genital cutting and female circumcision , [a] is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. Typically carried out by a traditional circumciser using a blade, FGM is conducted from days after birth to puberty and beyond. In half of the countries for which national figures are available, most girls are cut before the age of five. They include removal of the clitoral hood and clitoral glans ; removal of the inner labia ; and removal of the inner and outer labia and closure of the vulva. In this last procedure, known as infibulation , a small hole is left for the passage of urine and menstrual fluid ; the vagina is opened for intercourse and opened further for childbirth. The practice is rooted in gender inequality , attempts to control women's sexuality , and ideas about purity, modesty and beauty. It is usually initiated and carried out by women, who see it as a source of honour, and who fear that failing to have their daughters and granddaughters cut will expose the girls to social exclusion.
Saffiatu Sillah, whose circumcision caused her to endure agonizing pain during the births of her children, Mijan Kamara, foreground, and Jaria Kamara, asked a surgeon to help her. By Pam Belluck. Photographs by Maddie McGarvey.