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Female Genital Surgery, Types of

Female genital surgery (FGS) refers to practices that involve the cutting, scarification, cauterization, piercing, tightening, and/or removal of female genitalia. Such surgeries are typically divided into two categories: (1) traditional practices (often termed female circumcision, female genital cutting, or female genital mutilation) that are most common in developing countries; and (2) medical procedures done for cosmetic reasons, which are most common in industrialized nations.

Traditional female genital surgeries are carried out for religious, aesthetic, social, or other nonmedical reasons. They have come under intense international scrutiny, particularly from human rights advocates. Surgeries are generally conducted without consent, without anesthesia, and are often performed by a midwife or elder female community member. They may be performed on girls anytime from infancy throughout adolescence (and on ...

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