Parents have different opinions about newborn circumcision based on medical, religious, cultural, ethnic, and personal reasons.
Some parents choose circumcision while others do not. Parents who are undecided should talk with one of our providers before their child is born.
We want to be a partner in your child’s health and share any medical information you would like to know. We will always support whatever decision YOU feel is best for your son
What is circumcision?
At birth, boys have skin that covers the end of the penis, called the foreskin. Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, exposing the tip of the penis. Circumcision is usually performed by a doctor in the first few days of life. The surgery should be done under sterile conditions with adequate pain management. An infant must be stable and healthy to safely be circumcised.
What should I expect for my son after circumcision?
After the circumcision, the tip of the penis may seem raw or yellowish. If there is a bandage, it should be changed with each diapering to reduce the risk of infection. Use petroleum jelly to keep the bandage from sticking. Sometimes a plastic ring is used instead of a bandage. This should drop off within 5 to 8 days. The penis should be fully healed in about 1 week to 10 days after circumcision.
- Pre-op counseling
- In-Office circumcision
- Pre and Post-operative instructions, care, and support
REASONS PARENTS MAY CHOOSE CIRCUMCISION:
Medical benefits. New scientific studies show that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks of the procedure. Health benefits include:
- A markedly lower risk of acquiring HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
- A significantly lower risk of acquiring a number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including genital herpes (HSV), human papillomavirus (HPV), and syphilis.
- A lower risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). A circumcised infant boy has about a 1 in 1,000 chance of developing a UTI in the first year of life. An uncircumcised infant boy has about a 1 in 100 chance of developing a UTI in the first year of life.
- A lower risk of getting cancer of the penis, even though this type of cancer is very rare in all males.
REASONS PARENTS MAY NOT CHOOSE CIRCUMCISION
- Belief that circumcision should be a child’s choice.
- Fear of the risks. Complications are rare and usually minor but may include bleeding, infection, cutting the foreskin too short or too long, and improper healing.
- Belief that the foreskin is needed. Some people feel the foreskin is needed to protect the tip of the penis. Without it, the tip of the penis may become irritated and cause the opening of the penis to become too small. This can cause urination problems that may need to be surgically corrected.
- Belief that proper hygiene can lower health risks. Boys can be taught proper hygiene that can lower their chances of getting infections, cancer of the penis, and STIs.
Other Considerations for Circumcision
- Prevention of foreskin infections.
- Prevention of phimosis, a condition in uncircumcised males that makes foreskin retraction impossible.
- Easier genital hygiene.
Social Reasons: Many parents choose to have it done because “all the other men in the family” had it done or because they do not want their sons to feel “different.”
Religious or Cultural Reasons: Some groups, such as followers of the Jewish and Islamic faiths, practice circumcision for religious and cultural reasons.
ARE THERE ANY PROBLEMS THAT CAN HAPPEN AFTER CIRCUMCISION?
Problems after a circumcision are very rare. Call your child’s doctor right away if
- Your baby does not urinate normally within 6 to 8 hours after the circumcision.
- Bleeding doesn’t stop at the spot where the foreskin was removed.
- The redness around the tip of the penis gets worse after 3 to 5 days.
- Yellow discharge lasts longer than a week. It is normal to have a little yellow discharge or coating around the head of the penis in the first week.
What if I choose not to have my son circumcised?
If you choose not to have your son circumcised, talk with your child’s doctor about how to keep your son’s penis clean. Keep in mind that the foreskin will not fully retract for several years and should never be forced.
When your son is old enough, he can learn how to keep his penis clean just as he will learn to keep other parts of his body clean.
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Robert "Dr. Bob" Dabrow, MD, FAAP
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