What is circumcision?

A circumcision is the removal of the loose skin, called the foreskin, at the end of the penis.

What are some factors I should consider in the decision whether or not to circumcise my son?

There are many reasons to choose or not choose circumcision. Cultural and religious beliefs usually are considered along with medical information. General surgery team members are happy to answer your medical questions as you make the best decision for your family.

Some medical experts believe that circumcision is medically beneficial while others disagree. There are studies showing that urinary tract infections are less common in circumcised boys. However, urinary tract infections are relatively rare in boys anyway. Studies of sexual function in circumcised and uncircumcised males show very few differences between the two groups. In some populations, circumcision reduces the risk of contracting AIDS. Penile cancer (also a very rare disease) is less common among circumcised men.

Experts agree that if your child is diagnosed with hypospadias, he should not be circumcised until after the hypospadias is treated.

When data and costs were reviewed, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Canadian Pediatric Society recommended against circumcision except in response to parents' personal preference. Before choosing circumcision, parents may want to review the AAP statement on circumcision and should check insurance coverage for this procedure, as coverage for routine circumcisions varies from insurer to insurer.

What can I expect after a circumcision?

The end of the penis may be red and swollen. It may ooze a little blood for the first several hours, and may be tender for a few days. It will heal in about a week. If there are stitches, they will dissolve on their own within 1 to 3 weeks. The day after the procedure, your son may return to school or daycare. Avoid any riding toys or straddling activities. See our fact sheet (PDF) with additional information.

About circumcision at Children's

Circumcision is one of the most common surgeries performed at Children's. The general surgery team, which performs circumcisions, provide next-generation care to neonatal infants, newborns, children, and adolescents from throughout the Upper Midwest. Circumcisions are performed at Children's – Minneapolis, Children's - St. Paul, and Children's West.

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