The Female Genital Mutilation Act and its relation to female genital cosmetic surgery

Recently in the press, given the concerns at the office of the DPP over the prospect of prosecutions under relevant legislation, Mills & Reeve explores the law relating to this contentious subject and look at pitfalls and issues to be avoided and managed, given the growing number of treatments that could potentially breach current laws.

According to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the likelihood of the first prosecution in the UK for female genital mutilation is imminent. The general presumption is that the prosecution will relate to the cultural practice of female circumcision. What few plastic surgeons realise, however, is that even conducting female genital cosmetic surgery (FGCS) is, technically, unlawful.

FGCS is promoted as a way to enhance sexual gratification, appearance and self-esteem. All types of ‘vaginal rejuvenation’ comprise surgical alteration, generally involving reduction of the labia, and, perhaps, some ‘tightening’ of the upper vagina…

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