Circumcision is performed on newborn males to surgically remove the foreskin covering the tip of the penis. Typically performed on newborns for religious or personal reasons, the practice is performed on approximately 40% of newborns globally, and 60% of American newborns.
There are various reasons why parents may choose to have their newborn circumcised.
For those following monotheistic religions, like Islam and Judaism, circumcision is performed as a religious ritual. Jewish children may have the procedure performed by a mohel (a religious individual who has surgical training in performing circumcision). Muslims are the largest single religious group to circumcise boys. In Islam circumcision is also known as tahara, meaning purification. In the Sunnah, the founding prophet Muhammad stated that circumcision was a “law for men.”
Medical reasons support the importance of neonatal circumcision, pointing towards better reproductive health. A risk-benefit analysis cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that benefits of infant circumcision exceeds risks by over 100:1.
Reasons why doctors may suggest getting your child circumcised include:
Performing circumcisions can give parents peace of mind that they are doing everything they can to prevent these issues later on in life. Uncircumcised adults may decide to have the procedure performed later on in life if they suffer from conditions such as:
Circumcision later in life is more complex, expensive and takes longer to heal (6+ weeks). Cosmetic results are typically less optimal compared to healing after circumcision in the newborn time period.
Some adult males may choose to undergo the procedure for aesthetic reasons. While the point is hotly debated, the majority of evidence concludes that adult circumcision neither decreases or increases penile sensitivity nor does it impair or improve men’s sexual function or satisfaction.
For parents looking to get their newborn male child circumcised, this quick and easy procedure has lasting health benefits for your child.
Ask your insurance company about circumcision coverage. Most hospitals don’t offer this service anymore prior to discharge due to insurance payer coverage policies. Treasure Valley Family Medicine offers a cash discount for this procedure so be sure to ask about this when you come in or call to schedule your son’s circumcision.
Circumcision performed on newborns requires much less time in surgery and recovery compared those males who wait until childhood or adulthood.
Newborn males are awake during the circumcision and local lidocaine nerve blocks/anesthesia are used to block pain signals. Your baby will also be given sugar water drops to reduce distress and pain receptors. The penile area will be cleaned with an antiseptic to prevent infection.
We prefer use of the Gomco Clamp procedure for infant circumcision. It’s quick, easy and results in minor pain and very little bleeding. We will perform a circumcision anytime from hospital discharge up to 4 weeks of age, but the best time is prior to 2 weeks of age.
The Gomco clamp is a well-established and safe procedure. After placing a nerve block, it involves using a small probe to separate any bands of residual tissue tying down the foreskin to the glans (the head of the penis). A bell-shaped device is then fitted between the penis and foreskin to ensure protection of the glans throughout the procedure. Next, the clamp is tightened to reduce the blood flow to the foreskin, and a scalpel is used to remove the overlying foreskin only.
The procedure employs the use of a steel bell, which protects the glans and decreases the chances of infection. Parents also go home with the “final product” in place, in contrast to a “plasti-bell” clamp which stays on the penis for days and falls off by gangrene. The World Health Organization has also described the Gomco as having an “impeccable safety record”, compared to other methods of circumcision.
Infants do not require any sutures going home.
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