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Awareness, Clinical Experience and Knowledge of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting Among Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeons in the United States

Published:November 07, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.urology.2021.10.023

      ABSTRACT

      Objective

      To promote the recognition and care of patients with female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), we aimed to evaluate the awareness, clinical experience and knowledge of FGM/C among female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery (FPMRS) specialists. FGM/C is a cultural practice whereby there is removal of external female genitalia for non-therapeutic reasons. Despite the high prevalence of urogynecologic complications, there is a paucity of literature discussing FGM/C from the lens of urologists and urogynecologists.

      Methods

      By cross-sectional design, we distributed a 27-item survey via email to members of the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery. We collected variables pertaining to previous FGM/C education, clinical confidence, cultural and medical knowledge, and desire for future education.

      Results

      A total of 54 US-based, mostly urologists and FPMRS specialists, completed the survey. All providers had heard of FGM/C; however only 13% received formal education during medical training. Over 50% had encountered a patient with FGM/C in clinical practice. Only 19% and 13% felt completely confident recognizing and discussing FGM/C, respectively. Seventy percent believed religious doctrine informed FGM/C practice and 24% correctly identified FGM/C type on clinical representation. Finally, only 17% of respondents were aware of FGM/C guidelines, and providers expressed a desire for increased availability of multimodal resources.

      Conclusion

      Education regarding FGM/C remains sparse and variable for US FPMRS specialists. Cultural and clinical knowledge is also lacking, which is a detriment to patient care. In order to strengthen awareness and knowledge, we must develop high-quality FGM/C educational resources for urologists and gynecologists.
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