There is abundant evidence that circumcision has many important health benefits for males, regardless of the age at which they are circumcised. Here at Westchester Health, we strongly feel that before parents make the important decision to circumcise, or not circumcise, their son, they need to carefully weigh the health benefits, risks, their religious beliefs and their personal preferences. To help you with your decision, we offer this informative blog by Rodd Stein, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician in our Westchester Health Pediatrics group.
Circumcision has been proven to reduce the risk of:
- HIV infection among heterosexual males
- syphilis and genital herpes
- penile and prostate cancers
- urinary tract infections (some of which are serious enough to require hospitalization)
- cervical cancer in female sex partners
- a circumcised penis is easier to care for and keep clean than an uncircumcised one
How is circumcision performed?
- Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin, which is the tissue covering the head (glans) of the penis. During the 5-10 minute procedure, the foreskin is freed from the head of the penis and the excess foreskin is clipped off. The circumcision area generally heals in 5-7 days.
- Circumcision is usually performed on the first or second day after birth. In the Jewish faith, it is performed on the eighth day by a trained mohel.
- If you decide to have your son circumcised at the hospital, a physician can perform the procedure before you bring your baby home.
- Circumcision becomes more complicated and riskier in older babies, children and men, and usually requires general anesthesia.
- Premature babies or those who have special medical concerns may not be circumcised until they’re ready to leave the hospital. Also, babies born with physical abnormalities of the penis that need to be surgically corrected often aren’t circumcised at all because the foreskin may eventually be used as part of a reconstructive operation.
Proper care of your baby’s circumcision site
- Immediately after circumcision, the tip of the penis is covered with gauze coated with petroleum jelly to keep the wound from sticking to the diaper.
- After every diaper change, you should gently wipe the penis tip clean with warm water, then re-apply petroleum jelly to prevent sticking.
- Any irritation or redness of the penis should heal within a few days, but if it increases or if pus-filled blisters form, there may be an infection. If this happens, call your pediatrician immediately.
Questions or concerns? Please come see us.
At Westchester Health, we understand that circumcision is a very personal decision. If you would like to talk with us before taking this step, please call (914) 232-1919 to make an appointment with one of our Westchester Health pediatricians. Whenever you need us, we’re here for you.
To read Dr. Stein’s blog in full, click here.