Circumcision

Circumcision Brisbane

At Top Health Doctors Group, we have an Australian trained surgeon that provides circumcision service.

Please call (07) 3255 1208 (West End Branch) to find out more.

What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, which is the layer of skin that covers the head of the penis.

 

There are 2 broad indications for circumcision.

  1.  A request circumcision is a circumcision performed for non-medical reasons, such as parental preference, religious reasons or to potentially prevent disease at some future time (majority of cases in infants).
  2. A medical circumcision is a circumcision performed to treat a disease, such as:
    • Inability to retract the foreskin (Phimosis) due to recurrent infection and scarring (Lichen Sclerosis).
    • Recurrent infection of the head of the penis (Recurrent Balanitis)
    • Recurrent urinary tract infections.

 

A medical circumcision is usually performed in older children / adults, rare in infants.

What are the health benefits associated with a request circumcision?

Recent research suggests that circumcision may bring medical benefits such as:

  • A 10 times lower risk of a baby getting a urinary tract infection (UTI) in his first year of life (remembering that only one per cent of babies are at risk of a UTI, so 1,000 circumcisions are needed to prevent one UTI)
  • No risk of infants and children getting infections under the foreskin
  • Easier genital hygiene
  • Much lower risk of getting cancer of the penis (although this is a very rare condition and good genital hygiene also seems to reduce the risk. More than 10,000 circumcisions are needed to prevent one case of penile cancer)
  • Possibly lower risk of men getting sexually transmissible infections (STIs) than men who are not circumcised (although these studies have not been scientifically confirmed and safe sex practices are far more effective in preventing these infections).

How is circumcision performed?

There are different methods of circumcision. They are performed under either local or general anaesthesia. They usually follow the steps below:

  • The penis and foreskin are cleaned.
  • The Plastibell procedure involves numbing the area with local anaesthetic creams or injection and inserting a bell-shaped instrument under the foreskin to separate it from the penis. The foreskin is then removed using scissors or a scalpel.
  • Alternatively, circumcision can be performed as a formal surgical procedure with a clamp, using dissolving sutures or tissue glue.
  • After the procedure, gauze with petroleum jelly is placed over the wound to protect the area.

Why do some parents ask for a request circumcision for their infant sons?

One reason why parent choose to circumcise their newborn sons is for health benefits, such as decreased risk of urinary tract infection during the first year of life and decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) later in life.

Others may choose circumcision so that the child does not look different from his father or other boys.

For others, circumcision is a part of cultural or religious practices. Muslims and Jews, for example, have circumcised their males for centuries.

What are the reasons not to choose a request circumcision?

There are also good reasons why parents choose not to have their sons circumcised, such as:

  • Wanting to avoid surgery that is not essential and that carries some risk of complications, even though these are small
  • Concern that removing the foreskin may reduce the sensitivity of the tip of the penis and reduce sexual pleasure for both partners later in life
  • Wanting to avoid the pain of circumcision, which can occur at the time of the operation and for some time after.

Are there risks associated with circumcision?

Complications following circumcision are rare, but can include:

  • Pain
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Infection
  • Cutting the foreskin too short or too long
  • Irritation to the head of the penis, since the foreskin seems to protect the head of the penis
  • Narrowing of the meatus (the tube that allows urine to exit from the body)

 

Complications generally are less likely if the circumcision is done by someone well trained in the procedure. It also is less likely for complications to arise if the circumcision is done in a medical setting.

Some parents also may worry that circumcision harms a man’s sexual function, sensitivity, or satisfaction. However, current evidence shows that it does not.

When should request circumcision not be done?

Circumcision should only be done when the newborn is stable and healthy. Reasons to delay circumcision include the following:

  • The baby is born very early
  • The baby has certain problems with his blood or a family history of bleeding disorders
  • The baby has certain congenital abnormalities

What to expect immediately after a circumcision?

After the operation you can expect:

  • Discomfort and swelling
  • A small patch of blood in the baby’s nappy (smaller than a 10-cent piece – if it is any larger, contact your doctor immediately)
  • The wound area looking unsightly for about 10 days.

How should I care for my circumcised son?

Be guided by your doctor, but general suggestions include:

  • Giving your child lots of cuddles and comfort
  • Applying a little petroleum jelly or ointment on a light gauze dressing to the wound
  • Applying fresh petroleum jelly and a new gauze dressing at each nappy change. This reduces the risk of urine irritating the wound
  • A daily bath to keep the area as clean as possible.

 

In most cases, the skin will heal in 7–10 days. You may notice that the tip of the penis is red and there may be a small amount of yellow fluid. This usually is a normal sign of healing.

How do I keep the circumcised area clean?

Use a mild soap to gently wash the penis. Remove any stool with soap and water during diaper changes. Change diapers often so that urine and stool do not cause infection.

Signs of infection include redness that does not go away, swelling, or fluid that looks cloudy and forms a crust.

Call our clinic on (07) 3255 1208 (West End Branch) right away if you notice any of these signs.

How do you look after an uncircumcised penis?

A young boy’s foreskin is usually attached to the glans (head) of the penis until about five years of age. Do not try to pull back the foreskin before it is ready, as this may damage the delicate tissues and cause scarring. Generally, the foreskin of a child is best left alone.

 

A boy’s foreskin may become retractable anywhere between the first couple of years and puberty. Frequently, there are adhesions (areas that are still connected) between the glans of the penis and the inner layer of the foreskin. Adhesions are normal and will separate over the first 15 years of life.

 

After puberty, the foreskin should be easily retractable. The oily glands beneath the foreskin produce a thick, white substance called smegma, which must be carefully and regularly washed away.

 

What should I consider when making a decision about circumcision?

It is important to have all of the information about the possible benefits and risks of the procedure before making a decision.

You may think about future health benefits, religious or cultural beliefs, and personal preferences or social concerns.

Remember, circumcision is usually elective in infants—it is your choice whether to have it done.

 

Some of the absolute medical indications for circumcision in older boys /men includes:

  • Inability to retract the foreskin due to recurrent infection and scarring (Phimosis)
  • Recurrent infection of the head of the penis (Recurrent Balanitis)
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections.

 

These are uncommon in infants

If you have any questions or concerns, talk to us at Top Health Doctors (West End Branch) on (07) 3255 1208 to find out more.

 

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