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What is Circumcision?

Circumcision is a procedure that removes the foreskin from the penis. This procedure is performed by a pediatrician or an obstetrician/gynecologist, and it is done within a day or two of birth.

Many Americans have their sons circumcised. Some parents choose to have their male child circumcised for religious reasons, others do it because the babies fathers are circumcised. Many doctors feel that it is an unnecessary procedure. However, research has shown that males who are not circumcised have a greater risk of urinary tract infections when young, and cancer in that region in their latter years.


Statistics show there has been a decline in circumcision since its peak in the 1960s. In the United States, 80% of males born were circumcised in the 1960s, compared with about 64% today. Circumcision is a personal decision and should be thought out prior to birth.

If you choose to have your child circumcised, you should request that he be given a local anesthetic for pain. If you choose to have your child circumcised at a later date, this will require him to undergo general anesthesia.

Circumcision After-Care

  • Change your child’s diaper as soon as they soil.
  • Gently cleanse the area with water and very mild soap. However, never submerge the baby’s bottom in water until the circumcision is fully healed.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly to the circumcision to keep the baby’s diaper from sticking to the wound.
  • You may choose to place a piece of gauze over the ointment or jelly.
  • Avoid powders and lotions until the area has healed.

When to Call the Doctor

  • Redness that lasts more than a week
  • Swelling
  • Crusted sore on the wound site
  • Drainage or bleeding from the penis
  • Discolored penis (black or blue)
  • Temperature
  • Foul odor from the circumcised area
  • Weak or dribbling urine

Some physicians will place a clear piece of plastic on the circumcision site. This plastic resembles a bell. There are usually no special instructions for this plastic, and it generally falls off on its own within ten days.

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