What is a Circumcision?

A circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin of the penis. In the newborn period, it is usually performed with local anesthesia in the nursery, however as the child gets older the procedure is performed under general anesthesia in an outpatient setting.

What is the Surgical Procedure?

There are three types of circumcision.

  • Freehand circumcision: the foreskin is removed from the penis and the edges of the foreskin are sutured to the edges of the skin around the penis.
  • Plastibel type of circumcision: a grooved plastic ring is placed underneath the foreskin. A suture is tied around the foreskin on the ring like a tourniquet, and the foreskin is trimmed. In 7-14 days the ring comes off.
  • Gomco circumcision: a special clamp is used to remove the foreskin.
  • The major risks of a circumcision are bleeding and infection. Your surgeon will decide which technique is most appropriate for your child.

Care of the Circumcision at Home

The incision or skin at the site is normally slightly red and tender following the procedure. Tenderness should be almost gone by the third day. Since the area is tender, the diaper is applied loosely to prevent friction against the penis. If used, the dressing or Vaseline gauze around the incision may fall off by itself or should be removed 24 hours after the surgery. Gently clean the penis with water whenever it becomes soiled. Soap is usually not necessary. Your child may have a tub bath 2 days after surgery. Vaseline or an antibiotic ointment can be applied to the incision after cleaning if no Plastibell ring is used. If a Plastibel ring is used it should fall off by 14 days (10 days average). Do not pull on the ring as you may cause bleeding.

Call your surgeon if urine comes out in dribbles instead of a straight stream, the penis is blue or black, there is more than a small amount of bleeding, the normal skin of the penis becomes red or swollen, any pus is present, or the ring has been attached for more than 14 days.

Disclaimer: Your child's condition is unique. The information contained on this web site is not intended to substitute for advice from a doctor or nurse. If you are unsure about any aspect of your patient's care, please contact us at (303) 839-6001, or talk to your pediatrician.

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