Choosing whether or not to circumcise your son can be a difficult choice. The important thing to remember is that circumcision is a choice. When a male fetus is developing, specifically his genitals, the penis develops with a special covering. This covering is called the foreskin. What once was thought of as a useless bit of skin, much like the appendix, has turned out, through research, to have a purpose
Performing CircumcisionCircumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis. This is generally performed on infant males within the first few days of life. For those of the Jewish faith, circumcisions have a special spiritual/religious meaning. In Judaism, circumcisions are performed on the eighth day of life in a special ceremony called a Bris.
Most countries in the world do not routinely circumcise male infants. The United States currently has the highest percentage of infant male circumcision. Circumcision is also currently the most common surgical procedure performed in the U.S.
Circumcision techniquesThere are three different techniques used to perform a circumcision; the Gomco, Plastibell and Mogen method.
- The Gomco clamp
- The Plastibell Method
- The Mogen clamp
When the circumcision is completed, regardless of the method used, the penis will be covered with a small dressing.
Circumcision careCaring for a baby boy who has had a circumcision is relatively simple. At each diaper change, a small amount of pure petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment needs to be applied to the tip of the penis and covered with clean gauze. The penis can be rinsed with water, but you should avoid the use of soap until the area heals.
It will take about 7 days for the tip of the penis to heal. After that time, no special treatment besides normal hygiene is needed.
Circumcision complicationsWhile circumcision is a simple procedure with minimal risks, complications are possible.
You should call your child’s healthcare provider if you notice any of the following:
- Plastibell ring has not fallen off by 2 weeks
- Bleeding from the penis in excess of a few drops
- Black or Blue discoloration on the penis
- Foul smelling discharge from the circumcision site