Circumcision involves the surgical removal of the skin that covers the tip of the penis – known as the foreskin. Circumcision has been performed for thousands of years in certain cultures and religious groups. The surgery is typically a matter of personal or family preference. There are some cases in which the foreskin is too tight over the head of the penis and it needs to be removed for medical reasons.
Who Is a Candidate?
Circumcision is typically performed on newborns. It can be performed on older males, though it is a more complex procedure.
What to Expect
Shortly after giving birth to a baby boy in the hospital, parents will routinely be asked if they wish to circumcise the baby. If they choose to do so, this is often done within a day or so of birth – while mom and baby are still in the hospital. Certain religious customs dictate specific timelines.
In newborn circumcision, the baby will lie on his back with arms and legs restrained. His penis and surrounding area will be cleaned thoroughly, and the doctor will inject a local anesthetic into the base of the penis. A specially designed ring will be attached to the penis, and the doctor will carefully remove the foreskin.
Once the procedure is complete, the doctor or nurse will cover the penis with ointment, such as petroleum jelly. You will be provided instructions on caring for the penis while the circumcision heals. The procedure takes only about 10 minutes.
When an older boy or adult male undergoes a circumcision, the procedure is fairly similar. However, he may need to be under general anesthesia (fully asleep) during the circumcision. Older males have an increased risk for complications and the healing period is often longer.
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