DESCRIPTIONCircumcision is the removal of the foreskin of the penis. It is performed routinely soon after birth in many male children, although the American Academy of Pediatrics has a policy statement concluding that "there is no medical indication for routine circumcision of the newborn." If your son is not circumcised soon after birth, there is the possibility of phimosis (tightness of the foreskin, preventing it being drawn back) later. Adhesions may develop, requiring circumcision as an adult. The chart on these pages describes circumcision performed at birth and at times other than at birth or several days after birth for religious reasons.
Appropriate health care includes:
Surgery performed in a hospital or outpatient surgical facility if non-surgical treatment fails.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSInability to retract the foreskin completely after 18 months to 3 years of age.
Infection of the penis (balanitis).
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCEGood hygiene.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Before surgery: blood and urine studies.
After surgery: blood studies.
Expect complete healing without complications. Allow about 3 weeks for your son to recover from surgery. The average hospital stay is 0 to 1 day.
HOME CAREAfter surgery:
For an infant circumcised soon after birth, protect the surgical site with petroleum jelly at the time of each diaper change.
For an older boy, follow these suggestions:
-- If the wound bleeds during the first 24 hours after surgery, press a clean tissue or cloth to it for 10 minutes.
-- Use ice packs to relieve pain in the surgical area for the first 24 hours after surgery.
-- Use an electric heating pad, a heat lamp, or a warm compress to relieve surgical-wound pain beginning 24 hours after surgery.
-- Bathe and shower the boy as usual. The surgical wound may be washed gently with mild unscented soap.
-- Change your son's bandage daily. Between showers, keep the wound dry for the first 2 or 3 days after surgery. If a bandage gets wet, change it promptly.
-- Apply non-prescription antibiotic ointment to the wound before applying new bandages.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe:
-- Pain relievers. Don't give your son prescription pain medication longer than 4 to 7 days. He should use only as much as he needs.
-- Antibiotics to fight infection.
Use non-prescription drugs, such as acetaminophen, for minor pain.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
ACTIVITYYour son can resume normal activity as soon as possible.
Your son should avoid vigorous exercise for 4 weeks after surgery.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, after complete healing.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your son experiences pain, swelling, redness, drainage, or increased bleeding in the surgical area.
Your son develops signs of infection (headache, muscle aches, dizziness, or a general ill feeling and fever).
Your son has difficulty urinating.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.