The decision to undergo any kind of surgical procedure, let alone one involving your genitalia, can be intimidating.
And while circumcisions are one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures, it is still important to have a good understanding of the procedure, its potential benefits, its recovery time, and lastly, whether it is a good option for you.
This blog aims to provide you with an overview of circumcision in adults and everything else you need to know about the procedure.
What is Adult Circumcision? Why is it Performed?
Circumcision is a surgical procedure that is performed to remove the foreskin, a retractable fold of skin covering the glans or head of the penis. Often, circumcision in adults is performed as a religious ritual. But, it may also be performed due to medical reasons or for general hygiene and preventive healthcare. Some of the most common reasons and benefits of circumcision in adults include:
- Medical reasons: Circumcisions are generally regarded as the most effective solution to medical conditions such as phimosis, paraphimosis and balanitis. It is not uncommon for adults who struggle with these conditions to consider undergoing circumcision.
- Personal preference: Many adults opt for circumcision due to personal preferences such as cosmetic or aesthetic reasons, or to align with their partner’s preferences.
- Sexual health: Adult circumcised penis have been often associated with a reduced risk of certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as herpes, HIV and human papillomavirus (HPV). However, the protection that circumcision can provide against STIs has been found to be modest, at best.
- General hygiene: One of the major benefits of undergoing circumcision is improved genital hygiene. With the removal of the foreskin, it becomes easier to clean the penis and its glans. Circumcision also prevents the build-up of smegma, a natural substance that can accumulate under the foreskin.
- Reduced risk of UTI: UTI or Urinary Tract Infection can occur in any part of the urinary system due to the accumulation of microbes or bacteria. As the foreskin is removed in a circumcision, it becomes easier for an adult to keep the penis glans clean and prevent the accumulation of smegma, a natural secretion from the oil glands, as well.
How is Circumcision in Adults Performed?
Primarily, there are three ways to perform adult circumcision and while all of the methods are considered effective, they carry their own sets of advantages and disadvantages.
Laser circumcision is one of the advanced and minimally invasive surgical procedures that is commonly recommended by most urologists for circumcision in adults.
In a laser circumcision, the urologist uses a highly focused laser beam to make precise incisions and remove the foreskin. The laser energy also vaporizes any blood vessels it cuts, cauterizing them instantly. This results in minimal blood loss as well.
Laser circumcision is generally performed under local anesthesia which only numbs the area to be operated, which in this case is the tip of the penis. Laser circumcision in adults is a completely safe procedure, and while you may feel slight discomfort afterwards, there is typically no pain involved in the procedure.
Read More – Is Circumcision Good or Bad
Stapler circumcision, often referred to as Disposable Circumcision Device (DCD) technique, is an alternative to laser circumcision that is minimally invasive and is also considered to be safe and effective.
Stapler circumcision is a relatively new procedure that uses a specially designed surgical tool called a stapler , to surgically cut and staple the incision wound immediately. In a stapler circumcision, the urologist positions the stapler device, which consists of a circular blade and stapler, around the foreskin.
Once the device is in position, the surgeon will remove the excess foreskin by clamping the stapler. As the foreskin is cut, the stapler device also leaves behind a silicone ring around the incision wound to seal it off and prevent bleeding. As the surgical wound heals, the ring falls off on its own.
Similar to laser circumcision, stapler circumcision is also generally performed under local anesthesia meaning only the penis will be temporarily numb. Due to its minimally invasive nature, stapler circumcision in adults is a safe procedure that causes only slight discomfort.
Unlike laser or stapler circumcision, open circumcision, often referred to as dorsal slit technique, is a more conventional and invasive method of performing circumcision.
In an open circumcision, the surgeon uses a scalpel or surgical scissors to cut off excess foreskin from the penis. The surgery usually begins by cleaning the genital area in order to minimize risk of infection.
Once clean, the urologist carefully makes an incision along the outer edge of the foreskin. As the incision is made, the surgeon slowly separates the foreskin from the underlying tissue.
Finally, as the foreskin is removed, the urologist may use dissolved sutures to close the wound and promote healing.
In most cases, open circumcision in adults is performed under local anesthesia but your surgeon may use general anesthesia if deemed necessary, meaning you will be asleep throughout the procedure. It is to be noted that while open circumcision procedures may be conventional, they are still considered to be safe and effective.
Recovery After Adult Circumcision
On average, adult circumcision recovery time can range anywhere from 7-10 days. The exact time to recover after any kind of surgical procedure, however, highly depends on various factors such as the method of surgery, quality of post-operative care, and a person’s overall health.
After circumcision surgery, it is likely that your urologist will have a detailed discussion about the recovery period and the precautions you must take in order to prevent any postoperative complications. Your urologist may also prescribe you some medications for pain management and faster recovery.
It is important to strictly follow the prescription laid out by your urologist. Given below is an overview of what you can expect during the recovery period:
- Immediate post-recovery period: In the initial days after the surgery, it is normal to feel slight discomfort, swelling and mild to moderate pain in the genital area. It is important to keep the genital area clean and dry for the first 48 hours after the surgery.
- Wound care and dressing: Proper wound care and dressing management are crucial to promote healing and reduce the chances of any postoperative complications, as much as possible. It is likely that your urologist will provide specific instructions to you regarding proper wound care and management. It is important to follow the instructions as strictly as possible.
- Pain management: While some mild to moderate pain is to be expected, your urologist may prescribe you some pain medications or over-the-counter pain relievers for comfort. Applying cold packs or ice wrapped in a cloth may help with swelling as well.
- Physical activity and rest: It is important to avoid any strenuous physical activity, exercise or heavy lifting for at least a few weeks after circumcision. It is important to gain adequate rest and good quality sleep to promote healing and avoid any complications which may occur due to excessive pressure being applied at the surgical site.
- Sexual activity: Any sexual activity should be avoided for at least a few weeks after surgery or till your urologist suggests it’s safe to resume it. It is important to follow the guidelines provided by the urologist to avoid any complications.
Is Circumcision the Right Choice for You?
Undergoing a circumcision is a decision that can be difficult to make for some, while for others it is a must. Generally, circumcisions are not considered to be a medical necessity.
In some cases, however, it can become one and similar to any other surgery, it carries the risk of potential side effects.
It is also to be noted however that in comparison to those side-effects, it can also provide a person with several benefits that outweigh the chances and severity of any side-effects by far.
If you are struggling with any severe foreskin-related issue such as phimosis, paraphimosis or recurrent balanitis or just wish to undergo the procedure for religious, cultural or cosmetic reasons, circumcision is a safe, effective and permanent solution.
Read More – Difference between Phimosis and Paraphimosis
If you too, are planning on getting a circumcision, or have any further questions regarding the procedure, give us a call and consult with our expert urologists today.