Circumcision

What is a circumcision?
During a circumcision, the prepuce or the foreskin, which is the skin that covers the tip of the penis, is removed.

How is a circumcision done?
The health care provider will usually numb the penis with local anesthesia before the procedure starts. The numbing medicine may be injected at the base of the penis, in the shaft, or applied as a cream. In older and adolescent boys or adults, circumcision is usually done under general anesthesia while the patient is completely asleep.

There are a variety of ways to perform a circumcision.
The foreskin is removed and the remaining skin is stitched to the penis. Stitches that are used to close the wound will dissolve. They will be absorbed by the body within 7 to 10 days. The wound may take up to 3 weeks to heal.

Most commonly, the foreskin is pushed from the head of the penis and clamped with a metal or plastic ring-like device. The foreskin is then removed the wound typically heals within 5-7 days. If the ring is plastic, a piece of suture is tied tightly around the foreskin. This pushes the tissue into a groove in the plastic over the head of the penis. Within 5-7 days, the plastic covering the penis falls free, leaving a completely healed circumcision.

How do I care for a post-circumcision?
Gently clean allowing soap and water to flow over the area while you’re in the shower daily. Some swelling of the penis is normal after a circumcision. Vaseline should be applied directly to the penis for 3 to5 days. This will keep the wound from adhering to the bandage or underwear. At first the penis will appear red. In a few days a soft yellow scab will develop. This is normal and will go away in a few days. It normally takes 7 to 10 days for the penis to heal after a circumcision. After the circumcision, you may notice a small amount of blood on the bandage or underwear. If the bloodstain is larger than the size of a quarter, call your doctor right away. If there is a bandage on the penis, the bandage should be changed daily or when soiled. This will help prevent infection.

What are the risks of circumcision?
Like any surgical procedure, circumcision has some risks. However, the rate of problems after circumcision is low. Bleeding and infection in the circumcised area are the most common problems. Sometimes the skin of the newly exposed glans becomes irritated by the pressure of the bandage and ammonia in the urine. The irritation is usually treated with petroleum ointment (Vaseline) put directly on the area. This problem will usually lessen after a few days.

When to call your doctor (425-275-5555):

  • If you have a temperature greater than 101 Fahrenheit
  • If the wound does not stop bleeding.
  • If you are having difficulty urinating.
  • If the redness and swelling around the tip of the penis does not go away or gets worse after 3 to 5 days.
  • If there is a yellow discharge or coating around the tip of the penis after 7 days.