Female genital surgery (FGS), also known as female genital cutting, female genital mutilation, and female circumcision, is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the partial or total removal of the external female genitalia for cultural or other nontherapeutic reasons. The majority of women and girls who have undergone the procedure live in Africa, where it is reported in 28 countries, mainly across a belt reaching from Senegal in the west to Somalia in the east.

A broad spectrum of FGS practices exists, ranging from symbolic cutting to more invasive procedures, such as clitoridectomy, excision, and infibulation. In each context, there is marked variation in prevalence, in the type of surgery performed, and in the rituals associated with it. Even within the same geographic region, ...

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