What is a circumcision?
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin. The procedure takes about thirty minutes and is performed under general anesthesia. The entire foreskin is removed using an incision just behind the head of the penis. This leaves the head of the penis completely exposed. Local anesthesia will be used to relieve discomfort after the operation.
Why is circumcision performed?
Circumcision is usually performed on newborns for medical, social, or cultural purposes. According to the CDC, more than 58% of newborns in the United States are circumcised. However, people with an uncircumcised penis may choose to become circumcised later in life for many reasons, including:
- Phimosis (tight foreskin cannot be retracted to expose head of penis)
- Paraphimosis (retracted foreskin cannot be brought back to cover head of penis)
- Balanitis (inflammation of head of penis)
- Posthitis (inflammation of the foreskin—pronounced pos-THI-tis)
- Cosmetic or personal reasons
- Tearing of the penile skin when sexually active
Although circumcision is a simple procedure, it’s a larger surgery for adults than it is for newborns.
What can I expect afterwards?
You will be sent home with a compression dressing that can be removed in 48 hours. If it falls off sooner than that it’s not a problem. Absorbable stitches are used that do not require removal. After the dressing is removed, petroleum jelly can be applied to the stitch line to prevent the penis from sticking to your underwear.
You will likely experience pain for a few days that can be managed with analgesics that will be prescribed. Anti-inflammatories such as Advil and Ibuprofen are preferred to the narcotics as they are equally effective and have less side effects. You should not drive a car or operate machinery if you are using a narcotic for pain relief.
Activities need to be restricted for a few days. Sexual activity cannot be pursued for at least six weeks to allow full healing. You may experience pain with spontaneous erections.
When do I need to follow-up in the office?
You will need to be checked back in the office a week or two after the circumcision, and at the six-week point.