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Circumcision (Surgical)

What is circumcision?

A circumcision is a procedure to remove the foreskin from the tip of the penis. It is often done shortly after birth but may be indicated later in a child’s life for:

  • Tight foreskin
  • Recurrent (many) infections
  • Other penile abnormalities (i.e. hypospadias)

What happens during surgery?

Your son will receive a general anesthesia to help them sleep and not feel pain during surgery. A local block (numbing medicine around the surgical area) will be given.  The foreskin is freed from the head of the penis, and the excess foreskin is removed.  Dissolvable stitches or surgical glue may be used. Your surgeon may apply a dressing.

Will my child be in pain?

Most children do well with the surgery. Pain can be controlled by alternating Acetaminophen (Tylenol® or another brand) and Ibuprofen.  Do not give aspirin because it may cause bleeding.

What can I expect after the surgery?

The penis may be red, bruised and swollen. The incision may ooze a little blood for the first few days. Complete healing will take a few weeks. If there are stitches they will dissolve on their own within 2-4 weeks.

Before your child is discharged you will be given written information about care at home and any questions you have will be answered.

  • Diet: Resume regular diet as tolerated.
  • Activity: May return to school or daycare when pain is well controlled.  Avoid straddling activities, contact sports and swimming for 14 days.
  • Wound care: If your child has a dressing on the penis, follow your surgeon’s specific instructions for removal.
    • check the penis every 3-4 hours during the first day to monitor for bleeding. The head of the penis may appear dark pink and develop swelling and bruising.
    • Apply a generous amount of ointment with diaper changes, or 4 times daily for 2 weeks. Glob the ointment on and let it melt around the area. The ointment helps decrease irritation and protects the skin.
    • You may notice off-white patches of healing skin around the surgical area and along the incisions, this is a normal part of the healing process.
  • Bathing: It is ok to take a bath 24 hours after surgery. Bathe (5-10 minutes) in plain water for the next week. A daily warm bath will facilitate healing and provide comfort. Apply Aquaphor® or Vaseline® to glans after bathing as part of your son’s daily routine.
  • Medicines: You may alternate Acetaminophen (Tylenol® or another brand) and Ibuprofen (such as Advil® or Motrin®). Do not give aspirin because it may cause bleeding.

What to call the doctor for: 

  • Fever with worsening redness or drainage at surgical area
  • Significant swelling, bruising or bleeding at surgical area
  • If the wound starts separating

Call your primary care provider for any other concerns.

Follow-up care:

Follow-up with your child’s surgeon as directed following the surgery. Call your surgeon’s office to schedule an appointment.

Questions?

This information is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call your clinic.

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This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit www.childrensmn.org/educationmaterials.

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