A University of Pennsylvania plastic surgeon has developed a pioneering surgical procedure that can help address the emotional and physical scars of female genital mutilation.

Dr. Ivona Percec, Ph.D., an assistant professor of surgery and the associate director of cosmetic surgery at the university’s Perelman School of Medicine, has successfully performed three FGM reconstructive procedures to date using her medical technique, which was outlined this month in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

According to an interview with Penn Medicine, the three patients were all women between the ages of 30 and 33 who reportedly had emotional and physical consequences from FGM, which they had each endured as non-consenting children.

The three women had all immigrated to the United States from Sierra Leone, and as a result of FGM, had reported embarrassment and pain during sex.

None of the victims’ husbands knew they were victims of FGM.

“All of them were able to have intercourse, but without pleasure – usually with pain,” Percec reported to Penn Medicine.

A year after undergoing the reconstructive surgery, all three women reported improved sexual function and improved emotional well-being.