Circumcision

What is a circumcision?

A circumcision is a surgical procedure that removes the foreskin (the loose tissue) covering the glans (rounded tip) of the penis. Circumcision may be performed for religious or cultural reasons, or for health reasons. Newborn circumcision is thought to diminish the risk for cancer of the penis and lower the risk for cancer of the cervix in sexual partners. It is also believed to decrease the risk of urinary tract infections in infants and lower the risk of certain sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV.

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Is a circumcision safe?

Circumcision is generally a safe surgical procedure if the following conditions are met:
The circumcision is performed carefully, using strict aseptic (sterile) technique;
the circumcision is performed by a trained, experienced practitioner;
the circumcision is performed only on a healthy, stable infant; and
there is no medical reason not to have circumcision performed (see below).

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How is a circumcision done?

The circumcision may be performed using surgical clamp techniques or with a special disposable plastic device called a Plastibell. The results are equally good.

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What should one expect after the circumcision?

Following completion of the circumcision, the practitioner may apply gauze impregnated with petroleum jelly. You should follow any instructions regarding the care of the infant given to you by the practitioner, and these might include the following:
Generally it is recommended that the area be cleaned several times a day with warm water.
At each diaper change, you can apply a small amount of unscented petroleum jelly, or your doctor might recommend application of an antibiotic ointment as well.
It may take up to seven to 10 days for the incision scab to slough off.
  After the scab falls off, no further care is required except for normal hygiene.
At the first well-baby visit following hospital discharge, the penis should be carefully examined by the doctor and the parents given more information concerning further care.

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How can the pain be reduced?

Analgesia has been found to be safe and effective in reducing the pain associated with circumcision and should be provided if the procedure is performed. Analgesic methods include EMLA cream (a topical mixture of local anesthetics), the dorsal penile nerve block, and the subcutaneous ring block.

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What is the chance of a complication from a circumcision?

Large-scale studies indicate that the rate of complications is low, ranging from one in 200 to one in 500. The most common complications are local infection and bleeding including haematomas (bruises).