Baby Circumcision: Benefits, Risks, and What to Expect

Baby Circumcision: Benefits, Risks, and What to Expect
Males and females are born with different reproductive organs. Boys are born with a foreskin, that is covering the head of their penis. This is also called the glans of the penis. 7-10 days after birth, this foreskin is surgically removed. The removal of this foreskin is called circumcision. In ancient times, it was done due to religious and cultural reasons but as science has advanced, it has proven to be beneficial for males later in life. 

How is circumcision beneficial?

Medically, the procedure of circumcision has proved to be quite beneficial. 

  1. Circumcised infants are safe from acquiring urinary tract infects (UTIs) such as urethritis – infection of the urethra, cystitis – infection of the bladder, pyelonephritis – infection of the kidneys. According to studies, males who are circumcised are much less likely to contract UTIs as compare to uncircumcised males. 

  2. Chances of acquiring penile cancer become much lower after circumcision is performed. According to studies, circumcision provides extra defense against penile cancer. 

  3. Inflammation, infection and irritation are much less likely to occur if a male is circumcised as compare to a male who is not. 

  4. It becomes easier for males to clean their private area if they are circumcised. 

Risk associated with circumcision

Along with many benefits of circumcision, there are a number of risks associated with circumcision. 

  1. Phimosis may occur if the foreskin is cut too short or long.

  2. If the foreskin is cut too deep, it might fail to heal on time. 

  3. If operator is not experienced, minor bleeding or local infection may occur along with persistent pain.

Babies who are premature should not undergo this surgical procedure. 

If any physical abnormality of penis is present, it is not advisable to perform this procedure.

Circumcision after the newborn period can be more complicated and requires general anesthesia. 

What to Expect

Just like other surgical procedure, circumcision is also painful however local anesthesias are given to numb the area. 

Two main types of local anesthetic are used to make the operation less painful for a baby:

  • a topical cream, that requires at least 20 to 40 minutes to start its action.

  • an injectable anesthetic that requires less time to take effect and may provide a slightly longer period of anesthesia

After circumcision, your baby’s penis may look a little red and swollen. Petroleum jelly should be applied on it and should be covered with a gauze piece. 

It may hurt to urinate for the next 3-4 days after the procedure but the area will eventually heal. 

Doctor will recommend your baby to have Acetaminophen to ease the pain after the surgical procedure. 

How to take care of baby during his circumcision recovery?

Keep the area as clean as possible to avoid any infection. Clean it with warm water and do not use diaper wipes. Change the dressing every 6hours and apply petroleum jelly before each dressing. Keep applying petroleum jelly even if the dressing is not needed.  Let the baby rest as much as possible. Sleeping will help him recover. 

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