Circumcision of baby boys is a commonly performed urological procedure that involves removal of the foreskin of the penis. Circumcision is a centuries-old procedure that can be performed for a wide variety of reasons. While in some cases, it can be due to religious or cultural significance, in other cases, it can also be performed due to medical reasons.
Newborn circumcision is a completely optional procedure and is typically performed during the first few days after birth. But is the procedure beneficial? How is newborn circumcision performed? What are the benefits of newborn circumcision?
In this blog, we will answer all your questions regarding infant circumcision and help you make an informed decision. Read on to learn more about neonatal circumcision in newborn babies.
How is Newborn Circumcision Performed?
Newborn circumcision is often done in a hospital nursery, typically within 10 days after birth. There are primarily 3 methods of performing circumcision in baby boys – Laser circumcision, Stapler circumcision, and Open circumcision. All 3 methods are considered safe and effective but differ in overall procedure and equipment.
- Laser Circumcision: A laser circumcision, often referred to as laser-assisted circumcision, is the most common surgical procedure performed in male children. As the name suggests, laser circumcision utilizes a highly focused beam of laser to remove the foreskin. The laser is manually operated by the urologist and is gently moved along a predetermined incision line. Laser circumcision is an extremely precise procedure and ensures smooth wound edges, minimal bleeding, and negligible risk of complications.
- Stapler Circumcision: Stapler circumcision is another method of performing a circumcision that your urologist may recommend. Unlike laser circumcision, a stapler circumcision procedure uses a stapler device (an advanced and disposable surgical device specially designed to cut the foreskin). This stapler device fits snugly over the penis and, once fired, cuts and removes the foreskin. As the foreskin is cut, the stapler device leaves behind a silicone ring to close the incision wound almost immediately. This silicone ring will fall off on its own once the incision wound has healed (which generally takes 7-14 days).
- Open Circumcision: Open circumcision is a traditional method of performing newborn circumcision. In an open circumcision, the surgeon uses a scalpel or surgical scissors to cut and remove the foreskin. Compared to laser and stapler procedures, open circumcision is a more invasive procedure and takes slightly longer to heal. The procedure also carries an increased risk of complications. Actual cases, however, are rare.
Recovery and Aftercare After Newborn Circumcision Procedure
In most cases, it takes 7-10 days for the penis to heal after neonatal circumcision in baby boys. After the procedure, the tip of the penis will likely be sore and appear red, swollen and bruised.
You may also notice a small amount of yellow fluid on the tip of the penis as well. However, these side effects are to be expected and considered to be normal. They should subside on their own in a few days after surgery.
As the anesthetic wears off, your newborn may become fussy. In such a case, hold him gently and be careful not to put too much pressure on the penis.
As part of newborn circumcision care, change the bandage with each diaper change and apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to the tip of the penis to keep it from sticking to the diaper. It is also safe to wash the penis as it heals. If there is a silicone ring around the incision wound, it will drop off on its own (usually within about a week).
Problems after circumcision surgery are rare but can still happen. If your baby has any of the following symptoms, let your pediatric urologist know right away, as they could be a sign of a complication:
- Persistent bleeding that does not stop on its own
- Redness that gets worse three to five days after surgery
- Yellow discharge lasting more than a week
- Foul-smelling discharge
- Crusty, fluid-filled sores
- Not urinating or dribbling urine within eight hours after circumcision
Benefits of Newborn Circumcision
Some benefits that are commonly associated with infant circumcision are given below:
- Decreased Risk of Urinary Tract Infection: A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system. The risk of contracting UTI in male babies is low, but these infections are found to be more common in uncircumcised babies. Severe or recurrent UTIs as a baby can also lead to kidney damage or even sepsis (a bloodstream infection) later in life.
- Ease of Hygiene: A circumcised penis is easier to wash as compared to an uncircumcised penis. It is essential to teach your child how to wash their penis and keep their penis clean. Maintaining good genital hygiene helps prevent excess accumulation of any harmful bacteria and smegma under the foreskin and minimizes the chances of a penis infection.
- Decreased Risk of Infection: Infant circumcision can help minimize the chances of your child contracting certain Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) in the future. Studies suggest that compared to uncircumcised adults, circumcised adults are at a lower risk of certain STIs such as HIV and HPV. However, this protection is considered modest, and safe sex practices, such as the use of condoms, should be taught and encouraged.
- Decreased Risk of Future Penile Problems: Sometimes, the foreskin on an uncircumcised penis can be difficult or impossible to retract (phimosis). This can lead to inflammation of the foreskin or head of the penis.
- Lower Risk of Developing Penile Cancer: Although cancer of the penis is rare, it’s found to be even less common in circumcised babies.
Male baby circumcision is a common urological procedure that involves removal of the foreskin from a baby’s penis. Infant circumcision can be performed for a multitude of reasons. Some parents choose it for religious or cultural reasons, while other parents consider it for health-related reasons.
Circumcision, though, is not a medically necessary procedure, and it is completely up to the child’s parents if they want their baby to be circumcised. If you want your baby to be circumcised, it can be advantageous to perform the procedure earlier rather than later, as it reduces the risk of complications and the need for general anesthesia. However, males can undergo circumcision at any time in their life.
If you are considering a circumcision procedure for your baby or have any further queries regarding newborn circumcision, you can contact us and book a consultation with our pediatric urologists. All our pediatric urologists are highly qualified and experienced in performing various urological procedures, including infant circumcision. Contact us today!