Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin of the penis. The foreskin is a piece of skin that covers the tip of the penis.
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Circumcision may be done for family or religious reasons. It is usually done during the first few days of life. It may also be done on older boys to treat medical problems, such as foreskin that is too tight or cannot be pulled back.
Circumcision may also help reduce the risk of:
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:
The doctor may give:
The foreskin will be pulled away from the penis. The foreskin may have some areas attached to the head of the penis. These attachments will be cut. The excess foreskin will then be cut away. If needed, stitches may be placed to stop bleeding.
Petroleum jelly or an antibiotic ointment will be smeared on the penis. A bandage may be applied.
Less than 1 hour
Swelling and bruising are common in the first 2 days. Medicine and home care help
Right after the procedure, the staff may give your child pain medicine.
During your child's stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce the chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your child's chances of infection such as:
It will take about 7 to 10 days to recover. Physical activity will be limited during this time.
Call the doctor if your child is not getting better or has:
If you think your child has an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
Caring for your son's penis. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/bathing-skin-care/Pages/Caring-For-Your-Sons-Penis.aspx. Accessed December 16, 2020.
Circumcision. Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/pregnancy-newborns/caring-for-newborns/infant-care/circumcision.html. Accessed December 16, 2020.
Circumcision. Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/decisions-to-make/Pages/Circumcision.aspx. Accessed December 16, 2020.
Circumcision in infants and children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/circumcision#GUID-16C4ECD7-0C75-4B92-948D-40ED09317E38. Accessed December 16, 2020.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mary-Beth Seymour, RN