Circumcision is the surgical removal of some or the entire foreskin covering the head or glans (rounded tip) of the penis. The procedure is performed for cultural or religious reasons or for health reasons. It is a safe surgical procedure, if performed by a trained, experienced practitioner, using strict aseptic (sterile) technique and if performed on a healthy, stable infant.
The procedure takes about 5 to 10 minutes and is usually performed on the first or second day after birth. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia. It is performed using surgical clamp techniques or with a plastibell, a special disposable plastic device. The healing takes 7 to 10 days after circumcision.
Benefits of circumcision include preventing urinary tract infection in infants and preventing penile cancer in adults. It may also reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.
In uncircumcised males, penile problems such as irritation, infection, and inflammation are more common.
Complications of newborn circumcision are uncommon; the most common problems are minor bleeding and infection. Sometimes skin irritation of the skin of newly exposed glans caused by pressure of diapers and ammonia in the urine.
Call your doctor if there is persistent bleeding or blood on diaper, if increasing swelling and redness, yellow discharge around the tip of the penis and fever.
To reduce the risk of infection, gentle cleaning of the area should be done with simple soap and warm water. A small amount of petroleum jelly or an antibiotic ointment should be applied on the baby’s penis or on the diaper, at each diaper change.
Circumcision is contraindicated in unstable or sick infant, premature infant, infants born with genital anomalies and bleeding disorders.