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What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, that is the tissue covering the head (glans) of the penis. It is common in many countries, for some it is an ancient practice to have their sons circumcised for religious or other reasons.

When is circumcision done?

Circumcision is usually performed on the first or second day after birth.

How is circumcision surgery performed?

During the surgery, the person is given anesthesia to numb the penis. The doctor will put a clamp on the penis, and the foreskin is removed from the head of the penis. Later, an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly is applied to the area and wrapped with gauze.

The procedure for a newborn will take only 15-30 minutes. For adults, it may take around an hour.

There are various techniques for performing circumcision. It depends on the doctor’s preference and experience. There are 3 major methods of circumcision, that are Gomco clamp, the Plastibell device, and the Mogen clamp.

Follow-up and recovery of a circumcision surgery

The circumcision will take 5-7 days to heal. With an infant, you need to wash the penis with gentle soap and water only. Don’t use diaper wipes. Apply ointment or petroleum jelly every time you change the diaper. Wrap the diaper loosely to help the penis heal.

For children, and adults need 2-3 days of rest. They can go back to school or work after a week. They should drink plenty of water and clear fluids. They can put ice in the area for at least 2 hours a day, 10 -20 minutes at a time. They should wear loose clothes and keep the dressing till the doctor says to remove it. They should take antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor.

You should not take bath for a week after the procedure. You need to avoid bike riding, cycling or do any strenuous activity for 4-6 weeks. Inform your doctor if you notice any trouble in urination, fever, bleeding, foul smell at the tip of the penis, and blistering.

Is circumcision necessary?

Some men or older boys may need to have circumcision due to medical problems such as scarring of the foreskin that stops it from retracting(phimosis) recurring inflammation, or infections of the penis (balanitis) a foreskin that is too tight and causes pain.

Benefits of circumcision-

  • Less risk of UTI
  • Less risk of sexually transmitted diseases
  • Protect against penile cancer and less risk of cervical cancer in female partners
  • Prevention of balanitis
  • Prevention of phimosis and paraphimosis
  • Keeps the tip of the penis clean

What are the risks involved?

Just like any other surgical procedure circumcision has few risks such as

  • Pain
  • Bleeding and infection at the site of circumcision
  • Irritation
  • The chance of meatitis (inflammation or redness at the opening of the penis)
  • Risk of injury to the penis.