This is an abbreviated version of the complete article.*
||For uncircumcised boys, certain medical conditions, such as phimosis or balanitis, may require circumcision.
||To circumcise the penis, the surgeon may use a sleeve technique, a dorsal or ventral slit, or special device on the newborn.
||Circumcision procedures in the operating room take approximately 1 hour.
At birth, a tube-like sheath of skin covers the newborn boy's penis, known as the foreskin or prepuce.
Circumcision is a procedure where a urologist removes the foreskin from a boy or young man's penis. During a circumcision, a cut is made into and around the foreskin, and the foreskin is removed. Parents are given the option to decide if they want their son circumcised.
For boys with an intact foreskin there may be certain medical conditions, such as phimosis or balanitis, which may require circumcision as a treatment. An obstetrician or a pediatric urologist generally performs circumcisions on newborn males; on older boys, a pediatric urologist usually performs the procedure.
Like any surgical procedure, circumcision has some risk, albeit quite low. Bleeding and infection are the most common risks, both of which are easily treated with minimal discomfort to the child.
If a boy needs a circumcision as treatment for a condition, the physician may select one of the following types of procedures:
WHEN IS IT INDICATED?
- Sleeve technique;
- Dorsal slit circumcision; and
- Ventral slit circumcision.
In some cases, the physician may recommend removing the foreskin if an older boy develops problems with his foreskin. These problems may include:
A circumcision may also be an elective procedure for a man who wants the foreskin removed.
- Posthitis; and
- Frequent and recurring urinary tract infections.
WHAT TO EXPECT
The procedure for the newborn takes about 20 minutes.
For younger boys, the surgeon gives a general anesthesia so that he is asleep during the procedure, will not feel any pain, and will remain still during the procedure. The surgeon may give only a local anesthetic penile block as added relief so that the child is comfortable upon awakening from anesthesia. This will also last for a number of hours following the procedure. The circumcision procedure usually lasts about an hour.
Following the procedure, the surgeon may rub ointment over the sutures and cover the sutures with a bandage.
The patient will be given pain relievers for any discomfort at home.
Some physicians may recommend that the wounds be gently cleaned for 5 to 7 days; others may recommend that the wound be left alone to avoid infection. The patient's physician will provide specific instructions for post-surgical care.
Although rare, some complications may include:
- Post-procedure bleeding;
- Injury to the urethra;
- Blood clot;
- Poor cosmetic appearance; and
- Shortening of the skin on the penis.
Medical Review Date: April 30, 2009
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