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What is circumcision?

Circumcision is a surgical procedure to remove the skin (called “foreskin”) around the tip of a boy’s penis. This leaves the end of the penis without the usual skin covering. If you decide not to circumcise your son, his penis will look as it does in the picture with the foreskin below. If you decide to circumcise your son, his penis will look like the second picture.

Is it necessary to have a circumcision done?

There is no absolute medical reason for doing a circumcision. There is no right or wrong choice. Some parents want their son to look like his father or brother. Some parents desire to have the circumcision done for religious reasons. Many parents choose not to have their son circumcised.

What are the benefits of circumcision?

The penis is easier to clean, fewer urinary tract infections and a lower risk of cancer of the penis.

What are the possible complications?

Bleeding, infection, removal of too much or too little foreskin, allergic reaction to the medicine used to numb the skin of the penis, pain or scar formation.

How is the circumcision done?

Your baby will be placed on a special board to keep him from moving too much. He may be given a pacifier. The penis will be cleaned off and a local anesthetic will be injected or EMLA cream will be applied to temporarily “numb” the area. Then the foreskin is taken off with a special metal “bell”, clamp or plastic ring (plastibell) that protects the head of the penis while the foreskin is removed. If a plastibell is used your baby will go home with a plastic ring that will fall off in 5 to 10 days.

How should I care for my baby after circumcision?

In 30 to 60 minutes, the anesthesia will wear off, and your baby may be fussy. Cuddle and hold him. For the first three days, you may give Tylenol Infant Drops (or similar liquid medicine used for fever or pain in babies). Do not use these more than three times in 24 hours or for more than three days. Your baby should pee (urinate) normally. The penis will look red, swollen, and bruised. This will go away after a few days. You may see spots of bleeding as the penis heals. For the first few days, your baby’s urine may look pink. This is normal. Your baby will probably be more comfortable if he lies on his back or side. Do not put diapers on tightly. Hold your baby so that you do not put pressure on his penis. Sometimes, a yellow or yellow-green crust will form for several days. This is a normal part of healing. If your baby was given a local anesthesia by injection, you may see bruising on the penis where the injections were given. Usually, one to two weeks after the circumcision is done, the penis is healed. Every baby’s foreskin and penis are different. Do not compare your baby to others. If there is any blistering or if the penis is still red and swollen after two days, call Dr. Fogwell or your pediatrician.

How should I clean the baby’s penis?

Wash your hands first. Carefully clean the circumcision site by gently blotting or pressing with a damp washcloth. Never use alcohol. Wash your hands again when you are through. Do not put any powder or ointment on the penis for the first week.

Call Dr. Fogwell’s office or your pediatrician if you notice:

A lot of bleeding. A bad smell or drainage from the penis. The skin of the penis not healing well in 7 to 10 days.