At birth, most boys have a sleeve of skin and tissue (foreskin) that completely covers, or almost completely covers, the end of the penis. Circumcision is the surgical removal of some of this foreskin. We routinely perform circumcisions in the office 1-2 weeks after birth to be assured the baby is healthy.
Circumcision is not essential to a child’s health. Therefore parents should choose what is best for their son by looking at the benefits and risks. Scientific studies show some medical benefits of circumcision, however, these benefits are not sufficient enough for the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend that all infant boys be circumcised. Parents are encouraged to consult with their obstetrician and pediatrician and read as much as possible about this procedure. Factors affecting the decision include medical conditions, aesthetics, religion, cultural attitudes, social pressures, and tradition. Many parents choose to have their sons circumcised because they want their sons to look like their fathers.
At present, there is no clear medical recommendation. Recent studies have concluded that uncircumcised males may be more likely to develop urinary tract infections than those who have been circumcised. This may be because a circumcised penis is cleaner or easier to clean than an uncircumcised penis. Studies also have shown that there is a slightly lower risk of getting sexually transmitted diseases.
The procedure takes only a few minutes and is rarely complicated. Your baby may be fussy for the first day. You will be instructed in how to care for the circumcision and will be asked to bring your son back for a checkup two weeks later.
Circumcision does pose certain relatively rare risks such as infection and bleeding. The procedure is done only on stable, healthy infants. If an infant is premature or has an illness, circumcision may be done at a later time. After a month old, however, this may require a pediatric urologist.