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What is a circumcision?

A circumcision is a common surgery in which the foreskin covering the tip of the penis is removed. It is usually done as a personal and hygienic preference as well as for medical reasons. Dr Noorbhai performs this surgery for children as well as adults.

How is a circumcision done?

Circumcisions are done under general anaesthesia and a topical numbing cream is applied to the penis an hour prior to surgery to minimise the pain for infants and children. Sometimes pain-killing medication is given to ease the pain for the child afterwards. Each doctor has their own preference for technique used to do this procedure. The foreskin’s blood supply is restricted to cause less bleeding. The excess foreskin is then clipped off. The procedure usually takes about 15 minutes for young children and babies.

Why would a circumcision be done?

A circumcision is done for a number of personal and religious reasons. It can be done for young children or adults. Circumcision is also done for conditions of the foreskin such as swelling, inflammation or inability to retract the foreskin. Circumcision has the following advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages of circumcision

  • Decreased risk of urinary tract infections in infancy
  • Genital hygiene is made easier
  • Decreased risk of cervical cancer in female partners of men who are circumcised
  • Prevention of foreskin-related conditions
  • Decreased risk of sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
  • Decreased risk of penile cancer

Disadvantages of circumcision

  • May cause pain
  • Circumcision has complications such as poor healing, infection and bleeding

How long will we be in hospital?

Most children are able to go home on the same day as surgery. How soon you will be discharged from hospital depends on how much pain the child is in and how the parents are able to handle his discomfort. Your nurse will instruct you how to decrease the discomfort for him and care for the wounds.

What will happen after surgery?

Following circumcision your child may have discomfort and pain. Giving your baby a pacifier dipped in sugar water and swaddling him can also help reduce stress. Healing should take between 7-10 days. The following symptoms are to be expected:

  • Pain.
  • Redness and bruising on the penis.
  • Fussing.
  • Discomfort.
  • Red skin around your wounds.

Your nurse and doctor will instruct you how to care for your baby or child after circumcision. You may wash his penis gently with warm water and change the dressings with every nappy change. When changing the nappy, put a dab of petroleum jelly on the penis to prevent it from sticking and rubbing on the nappy. Keep the nappy fastened loosely to help the tip of the penis head.

Be sure to contact Dr Noorbhai immediately if your child continues to fuss, has trouble urinating, increased redness or swelling, persistent bleeding, foul-smelling drainage, unusually high temperature or has excessive pain. These may be an indication that emergency care is needed.

What are the potential risks and complications a circumcision?

The risk of complications during surgery include:

  • Infection of the wound.
  • Pain.
  • Bleeding.
  • Irritation of the glands.
  • Inflammation at the opening of the penis.
  • Injury of the penis.
  • Risks from general anaesthetic.
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