A circumcision is the removal of the foreskin. The foreskin is the skin at the end of the penis forming a hood over the head of the penis (the glans).
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Boys are circumcised for medical, religious or cultural reasons.
While circumcision used to be more frequent, in Australia, since the 1970s the rates of circumcision have declined with more and more boys remaining uncircumcised.
In most cases, the decision comes down to your preference. Guy can talk you through the reasons why your baby may or may not need a circumcision. These mostly boil down to one of two reasons.
- If your son has a tight foreskin or keeps getting infections of the foreskin and the head of the penis, Guy may recommend a circumcision.
- In older boys and men, a circumcision may be needed if the foreskin continually contributes to infections or blocks the head of the penis. Please note. Guy does not perform circumcisions on older boys – but can recommend a trusted surgeon for you.
- Religious or cultural
- There are a number of different religions and cultures that circumcise their sons. These include Jewish, Islamic and many African communities.
Again, it depends on individual circumstances, however, in general, there are some health benefits associated with circumcision. These include:
- It’s easier to wash
- While circumcision does make washing easy, uncircumcised boys can be taught proper hygiene and washing beneath the foreskin quickly becomes an easy habit
- Less risk of infection
- Urinary tract infections occur more frequently in uncircumcised males
- Circumcised men also have a reduced risk of contracting some sexually transmitted diseases
- Prevention of some penile problems
- Circumcision removes the risk of phimosis – which is the condition which makes it difficult to retract the foreskin and often results in an inflammation of either the foreskin or the head of the penis
- A reduced chance of some cancers
- Penile cancer is rare, but much less common in circumcised males
- Cervical cancer is seen less often in wives and partners of circumcised men
Dr Guy Skinner uses the plastibel™ for all circumcisions. This is a plastic bell which is fits under the foreskin and over the glans. A rubber ring is then inserted over the head of the penis which cuts off blood supply to the foreskin causing it to drop off after around 10 days.
Your son might be a little unsettled immediately afterwards, but this will settle down within 24 hours.
Any risks are either complications due to surgery or anaesthetic.
Guy will talk through any risks with you before any circumcision. These include the risks involved if your son has, or your family has a history of, a blood slotting disorder. Or if your baby has been born premature.
The tongue is attached to the floor of the mouth by a small piece of connective tissue called a frenulum.
If the frenulum is too short, or too close to the front of the tongue, your baby might have problems extending their tongue – which is needed to create a strong suck during feeding.
A very quick and painless procedure, best performed by a trained obstetrician or doctor, involves simply snipping the frenulum. This can be performed in our rooms or while you and your baby are still in the hospital.
The only real risk is bleeding. And this will usually only be a risk if there is a congenital blood-clotting issue. Again, while the risk is minimal, we recommend this procedure be done by your obstetrician or a doctor familiar with your family’s health history.