A circumcision is when some of the foreskin (also called the prepuce) is removed so that the glans (or tip) of the penis becomes visible.
Circumcisions are performed for a number of reasons ranging from medical conditions to religious or social considerations.
Phimosis is the inability to draw back the foreskin to expose the glans or head of the penis. Phimosis sometimes makes it difficult to tend to proper hygiene in the area. In boys who suffer urinary tract infections, infections of the foreskin, or infections of the penis (balanitis), a circumcision may help prevent the recurrence of these problems.
Circumcisions can be performed at any age. The majority of circumcisions are performed on newborns at the bedside. For older children, circumcisions are performed as an outpatient procedure in an operating room under anesthesia.
A number of devices have been developed to help perform circumcisions in babies. These include a Gomco clamp, a Mogen clamp, and the Plastibell device. However, in older children these devices are not always effective, so a “freehand technique” is often performed. In this operation, the excess foreskin is removed and the cut edge is sewn with dissolvable stitches. The procedure takes less than an hour to perform.
Immediately after the procedure, the penis may look swollen and sore. This will resolve in about a week, and the final appearance of the circumcision will take several months to evolve. The patient should have no problem urinating after a circumcision although it may be a little uncomfortable at first. The most common complication after circumcision is bleeding. Your surgeon will discuss this and other risks during the course of your pre-operative visit.
The child generally goes home a few hours after the procedure. He will likely require oral pain medicine for a few days once he is home. He will be on limited activity for at least a week which will mean no swimming or rough activity. Most children will be out of school for 4 – 7 days after a circumcision.
The child will typically come for one follow-up visit in the surgeon's office at the Division of Pediatric Surgery at All Children's Hospital about a week or two after the procedure.
Most insurance plans will pay for a circumcision if there is a medical reason for the procedure.
Appointments and More Information
For more information, visit Pediatric General Surgery. To make an appointment or to ask questions, please call (727) -767-4170.
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