A circumcision can be done due to numerous reasons nowadays.
If you are considering of having a circumcision for your child, it’s best to consult your doctors for any concerns you may have regarding the procedure and additional information on what happens during the operation.
What is a circumcision?
A circumcision is an operation to remove the foreskin (the skin that covers the sensitive tip of the penis).
What are the benefits of surgery?
Circumcisions are usually recommended only for the following medical reasons.
- Balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO), which is an uncommon condition where the foreskin becomes thickened and white
- A non-retractile foreskin, where you are unable to pull back the foreskin
- Paraphimosis, where the foreskin cannot be returned over the tip of the penis after it has been pulled back
- Infections of the foreskin
- Abnormal urinary tract with urinary infection that keeps coming back
Are there any alternatives to surgery?
If BXO is suspected, a circumcision is the only dependable way to cure the condition. When BXO is not suspected, a non-retractile foreskin can often be treated with steroid creams. However, if your child does not have BXO, a dorsal slit operation may be recommended. This operation involves widening the opening of the foreskin but not removing it.
What does the procedure involve?
The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic and usually takes about 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?
Like all surgical procedures, there are some complications that can be serious and can even cause death. Please bear in mind the general and specific complications regarding this type of operation.
General complications of any operation
- Unsightly scarring of the skin
- Infection of the surgical site (wound)
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
- Cosmetic problems
- Scar tissue
- Developing an epidermal inclusion cyst (a lump under the skin filled with a waxy whitish substance)
How soon will my child recover?
Nowadays, your child should be able to go home the same day or the day after. It’s very likely that the penis may look sore, swollen and bruised. It is usual for children to return to school after 7 to 10 days.
A circumcision is an operation to remove the foreskin. To find out more, call us on 0808 101 0337.
Authors: Mr Shailinder Singh DM FRCS (Paed. Surg.), Mr Gregor Knepil FRCS (Ed.), Mr Jonathan Sutcliffe FRCS
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