Circumcision is the surgical removal of the skin covering the head (glans) of the penis.
Why do a circumcision?
Circumcision may be a religious or cultural ritual, or it may be a matter of family tradition, personal hygiene or preventive health care. Sometimes there's a medical need for circumcision, such as when the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back (retracted) over the glans.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says the benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks, yet they don’t recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns. The AAP leaves the circumcision decision up to the newborn’s parents.
Benefits of Circumcision
- Easier hygiene. Circumcision makes it simpler to wash the penis.
- Decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections. Circumcised men might have a lower risk of certain sexually transmitted infections.
- Decreased risk of bladder infections. Circumcised males have a lower risk of bladder infections; therefore, less of a risk of infections effecting their kidneys.
- Decreased risk of penile cancer. Although cancer of the penis is rare, it's less common in circumcised men. In addition, cervical cancer is less common in the female sexual partners of circumcised men.
- Prevention of penile problems. Occasionally, the foreskin on an uncircumcised penis can be difficult or impossible to retract (phimosis). This can lead to inflammation of the foreskin or head of the penis.
Risks of circumcision
Risks of circumcision are small, and the most common complications associated with circumcision are bleeding and infection. Side effects related to anesthesia are possible as well.
Rarely, circumcision might result in foreskin problems. For example:
- The foreskin might be cut too short or too long
- The foreskin might fail to heal properly
- The remaining foreskin might reattach to the end of the penis, requiring minor surgical repair
During the procedure
Prior to the procedure you will be asked to sign a consent after reviewing the risks, and after-care of your son’s penis. Circumcision is usually done in the office within 10 days after your son’s birth. Your son will lie on his back with his arms and legs restrained. An anesthetic will then be applied to your son’s penis prior to the circumcision. A special clamp will then be used to remove the foreskin from your son’s penis. Afterward, the penis will be covered with an antibiotic ointment and covered with guaze and then your son will be dressed. The procedure usually takes less than 10 minutes.
After the procedure
It usually takes about a week for the penis to heal. The tip of the penis is likely to be sore at first, and the penis and skin around it might look red, swollen or bruised. You might notice a yellow crust on the tip of the penis as well. This is all normal.
Change your son’s diaper as you normally would. The steps in care of your son’s penis is as follows.
- 1. Change him at most an hour after his circumcision.
- 2. Use unscented baby wipes with each diaper change, cleaning him as you normally would.
- 3. If there is any bleeding, gently pinch the area of bleeding as you would similar to holding a nose bleed. Cuddle or nurse while holding gentle pressure for at least 15-20 minutes, since newborn’s blood takes a little longer than adults to clot. If the bleeding persists call us at (509) 628-8866.
- 4. After cleaning your son, and if there is no bleeding, apply a gob of Vaseline to cover the entire head of his penis. After applying Vaseline, put his diaper back on.
- 5. You may bathe him 24 hours after his circumcision, if he is ok to bathe with his umbilical cord (ask your pediatrician if you are unsure).
Contact us at (509) 628-8866 if…
- Normal urination(wet diapers) doesn't resume within 12 hours of the circumcision
- There's persistent bleeding after trying the above technique.
- There's foul-smelling drainage from the tip of the penis.