What is a circumcision?
A circumcision is a surgical procedure that removes the foreskin (loose tissue) from the rounded tip, or glans, of the penis. Circumcision may be performed for religious, cultural reasons, or health reasons.
Newborn circumcision is thought to diminish the risk for cancer of the penis and lower the risk for cancer of the cervix in sexual partners. It is also believed to decrease the risk of urinary tract infections in infants and lower the risk of certain sexually transmitted diseases, especially the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).
Is a circumcision safe?
Circumcision is generally a safe surgical procedure if the following conditions are met:
- The circumcision is performed carefully, using strict, sterile technique;
- The circumcision is performed by a trained, experienced practitioner;
- The circumcision is performed only on a healthy, stable infant; and
- There is no medical reason not to have circumcision performed.
What should one expect after an infant is circumcised?
Following completion of the circumcision, the physician may apply gauze and petroleum jelly. Follow any instructions regarding the care of the infant given to you the by the practitioner. These might include the following:
- Generally, it is recommended that the circumcised area be cleaned several times a day with warm water;
- At each diaper change, you can apply a small amount of unscented petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment;
- It may take up to seven or 10 days for the incision scab to slough off;
- After the incision scab falls off, no further care is required except for normal hygiene;
- At the first well-baby visit following hospital discharge, the physician should carefully examine the penis, and the parents provided with more information concerning further care.