A circumcision is an operation to remove the foreskin (the skin that covers the sensitive tip of the penis).
Worldwide, circumcisions are most commonly performed for religious or cultural reasons. In the United Kingdom, circumcisions are usually recommended only for medical reasons such as balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO), a non-retractile foreskin and recurrent infections. (see fig.1)
Are there any alternatives to a circumcision?
If BXO is suspected, a circumcision is the only dependable way to cure the condition. A non-retractile foreskin can often be treated with steroid creams. If your child does not have BXO, a dorsal slit operation or a preputioplasty may be recommended.
What does the operation involve?
The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes between half an hour and three-quarters of an hour.
During the operation your surgeon will remove the foreskin and seal off any small blood vessels. They will stitch the two edges of skin together.
What complications can happen?
1. General complications of any operation
Infection in the surgical wound
2. Specific complications of this operation
Difficulty passing urine
Developing an ulcer at the tip of the penis
Narrowing of the opening of the urethra
Too much foreskin is removed
Not enough foreskin is removed
Damage to the urethra
Injury to the end of the penis
How soon will my child recover?
Your child should be able to go home the same day or the day after. The penis may look sore, swollen and bruised.
It is usually possible to return to school between a week and ten days after the operation.
A circumcision is an operation to remove the foreskin.
Paying for the operation
Circumcision costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure.