Reviewing the Cliterature with Prof Helen O’Connell – Presented by Medfem


A small organ with a big impact, the clitoris was historically left out of textbooks and ignored by surgeons. This meant that for years, women would be having urological procedures with little thought given to their sexual function. In 1998, Australia’s first female urological surgeon Professor Helen O’Connell published the paper that “rediscovered” the clitoris. Why was the clitoris erased in the first place? How did Professor O’Connell go about bringing it back? And 20 years on, how has surgery changed? Attend this symposium to hear Professor O’Connell in conversation with current urological trainee Dr Sophie Riddell, to answer these questions and get cliterate.


Professor Helen O’Connell

Professor O’Connell completed her training in Urology in Australia in 1994 to become the first female Urological Surgeon. She then did formal Fellowship training in the US in 1994-5 in the management, including surgery, of all problems affecting function of the lower urinary tract in men and women. Based at The University of Melbourne, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Melbourne Private Hospital, she completed a Doctorate of Medicine in female pelvic anatomy in 2004 having earned a Masters degree in 1997 for a project on female urge incontinence. Professor O’Connell has been on the Board of Directors of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons since 2005 and was the specially elected Director to the Urological Society of Australia and New Zealand for 2005-2010. She was the Chair of the Board of Surgical Research for the College in 2007-2009. Her clinical and research focus is on surgical treatment to rectify lower urinary tract problems, particularly incontinence and outlet obstruction.

Dr Sophie Riddell

After completing her medical degree at the University of Adelaide, Sophie returned to Melbourne to work at St Vincent’s Hospital. In her pre-SET years Sophie completed a Masters of Surgery (University of Sydney), became the inaugural Chief Surgical Resident of St Vincent’s Hospital (2017-2018) and gained a position on the Urology SET program commencing 2019. Sophie is a latin dancer and passionate volunteer surf life saver. As Club Captain of Portsea Surf Life Saving Club (2014 – 2017) Sophie was awarded a Life Membership for her contribution to the organisation.