Circumcision in the male is the removal of the foreskin of the penis, which is an optional choice. At birth, the foreskin (sometimes called the prepuce) is attached to the end of the penis, an area known as the glans. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ Circumcision Policy Statement reports that the preventive health benefits of elective circumcision of male newborns outweigh the risks. Those benefits include prevention of:
Parents should ultimately decide whether circumcision is in the best interests of their male child. They will need to weigh medical information in the context of their own religious, ethical, cultural beliefs and practices.
Although it may be performed later in life, circumcisions are normally performed within one month after birth. Circumcisions after that time need the performing doctor’s approval. Your Ogden Clinic pediatrician will recommend the best setting for the circumcision, depending on your son’s individual case. Our providers have performed hundreds of circumcisions and are very comfortable with the procedure.
With a newborn, circumcision is usually performed in the office using local anesthesia. Normally, this type of procedure can only be done in the first six weeks of life, or until the baby weighs about 12 pounds. After that time, it must be done under general anesthesia in the operating room.
For newborn circumcision, your son will lie on his back with his arms and legs restrained. After the penis and surrounding area are cleansed, an anesthetic will be injected into the base of the penis or applied to the penis as a cream. A special clamp or plastic ring will be attached to the penis, and the foreskin will be removed.
The procedure generally takes about 10 minutes. After circumcision with an Ogden Clinic pediatrician, the penis will be covered with a topical antibiotic or petroleum jelly and wrapped loosely with gauze. It usually takes seven to 10 days for the penis to heal. The tip of the penis is likely to be sore at first, and the penis might look red, swollen or bruised. You might notice a small amount of yellow fluid on the tip of the penis as well.
If your newborn is fussy as the anesthetic wears off, hold him gently, being careful to avoid putting pressure on the penis. It's OK to wash the penis as it heals. For newborns, change the bandage with each diaper change and apply a dab of petroleum jelly to the tip of the penis to keep it from sticking to the diaper. Change your baby's diaper often and make sure it is loosely fastened.
If there's a plastic ring instead of a bandage, it will drop off on its own, usually within about a week. Once the penis heals, wash it with soap and water during normal bathing.
Severe complications are very rare, but can include bleeding and infection. More common complications include scars between the head of the penis and the skin, and scarring of the urethral opening, called meatal stenosis.