The head of the penis is covered by a retractable fold of skin called foreskin. Surgical removal of the foreskin is called circumcision. It is a common religious practice in many communities.
Procedure of Circumcision
Circumcision is generally done in new born boys by the age of 10 days. For the procedure your baby will be placed on the surgery table and his limbs will be restrained. An anaesthetic is injected at the base of the penis of applied in the form of cream. A ring is also placed at the base of the penis. The foreskin is then cut off with the help of a sterile surgical blade. The penis will then be covered in ointment and gauze.
For adults the procedure can be performed under local, general or spinal anaesthesia.
Indications for Circumcision
Circumcision is a matter of family tradition, preventive healthcare and personal hygiene. There are some health benefits of circumcision, they are:
- Decreased risk of transmission of sexually transmitted disease
- Decreased risk of penile cancer
- Easier hygiene
Circumcision is indicated for medical purposes like:
- Phimosis: when the foreskin is too tight to be pulled over the glans. An alternative treatment for phimosis is topical steroids
- Recurrent balanitis: when the foreskin and head of penis become inflamed and infected
- Cancer of penis
- Paraphimosis: when the foreskin cannot be returned to it original place after pulling it back, leading to swelling and pain in the head of penis.
Complications of Circumcision
Circumcision is a relatively safe procedure with low rates of complications. The complications seen are:
- Tenderness around the scar
- Infection at the site of surgery
- Incomplete removal of foreskin, requiring a repeat surgery
- Foreskin might be cut too long or too short.
Recovery after Circumcision
Recovery from the surgery may require about 10 days. The tip of the penis may be sore and appear bruised for a few days. During the healing time, you may wash the penis gently. Apply Vaseline at the tip to prevent sticking to clothes or diaper. For adults undergoing circumcision, it is advisable to abstain from intercourse for four weeks after the procedure.
Contact your doctor immediately if :
- There is persistent bleeding
- Normal urination does not resume within 12 hours of the surgery
- Foul smelling discharge from the tip of penis.
- British association of urology surgeons- circumcision procedure