American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons

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Assessing Plastic Surgeons' Knowledge of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in the United States
Ava G Chappell, MD1; Mona Ascha, MD1; Rachita Sood, MD MPH1; Kathryn Fay, MD2; Melissa Simon, MD MPH2; John Y Kim, MD1; Sumanas W Jordan, MD; PhD1; Lori A Post, PhD3
1Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois. 2Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois. 3Buehler Center for Health Policy and Economics, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Chicago, IL

Background: Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) is a harmful practice that threatens girls and women across the globe. Recently, there has been increased awareness of the presence of FGM/C in the United States. Morbidity from FGM/C may be acute and/or chronic, with a range of clinical presentations. Despite evidence of women suffering from the sequelae of FGM/C, there remains insufficient education and training in FGM/C care. This survey study aims to assess the FGM/C knowledge of plastic surgeons
Methods: In collaboration with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), a 33-question survey instrument was developed and deployed to 3628 active ASPS members. The survey was sent 6 times over a 5-month period in 2020. Demographic data is presented as frequencies and percentages, with chi-square and t-tests performed when appropriate. Univariate and multivariate regression was performed for outcomes and predictors of interest
Results: 364 total ASPS members responded, resulting in a 10% response rate. 17.3% of respondents reported prior education on FGM/C. 84.5% were unfamiliar with the WHO classification system for FGM/C. 94.4% were uncertain of any existing clinical management guidelines at the hospital, national or international levels. 6.3% reported experience caring for a patient with FGM/C. 81.5% believe that plastic and reconstructive surgeons can significantly treat surgical morbidities associated with FGM/C
Conclusion: There is a lack of knowledge and training in FGM/C care among plastic surgeons in the US. Plastic surgeonsí expertise in genital reconstruction, aesthetics, and scar management, may be helpful in improving care for FGM/C related morbidity. Further education in FGM/C is needed for plastic surgeons to become engaged in caring for these patients.


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