Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin or ring of tissue that covers the head of the penis.
This surgical procedure is performed by the Obstetrician the day of discharge from the hospital. The purpose of the foreskin is to protect the glans against urine, feces and other types of irritation. The foreskin may also serve a sexual function by protecting the sensitivity of the glans.
The decision to circumcise your infant son is a complex one, requiring thought regarding cultural, religious, medical and personal preferences. Followers of the Jewish and Moslem faiths perform circumcision for religious reasons. Circumcision became popular in many countries because it was thought it may help prevent sexually transmitted infections. Circumcision has not become a common practice in many countries.
In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics revised their statement on circumcision, clarifying that the “preventative health benefits of elective circumcision of male newborns outweigh the risks of the procedure.
Benefits include significant reductions in the risk of urinary tract infections in the first year of life and, subsequently, in the risk of heterosexual acquisition of HIV and the transmission of other sexually transmitted infections.” The AAP does not recommend routine circumcision of all male newborns, but encourages parents to decide whether circumcision is in the best interest of their newborn.
Like any surgical procedure, circumcision may cause complication (less than 1%). These might include infection, bleeding, scarring and various surgical accidents. The procedure causes some pain that can be minimized by using a local anesthetic to block the nerves of the foreskin. You may have to pay the cost of the procedure if it is considered an elective procedure with your insurance.
The decision to circumcise is for the parent to decide as the risks and benefits are too small to make it a medical decision. Some parents take into consideration if the father is circumcised or not when making this decision. Gather information from your medical care givers and other parents when making this choice.