Circumcision or removal of foreskin is a practice dating back to ancient times. Current trends vary on geographic location, religious affiliation, and ethnicity and to some extent social economic classification.
Possible benefits include, the prevention of the risk of infection and inflammation of the foreskin, possible decrease in risk of penile cancer, and reduced risk of urinary tract infections. There is also a possible decreased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, though the practice of safe sex is more important.
The risks associated with circumcisions are usually seen around the time of the circumcision. These include bleeding or infection, which are rare. Pain is also a risk if a local anesthetic is not used. There is no difference in sexual function between circumcised and uncircumcised males.
In the process of circumcision the infant is placed on a tray shaped to conform to the infant to help restrain the infant. This helps keep the surgical area sterile. A local anesthetic is applied and the foreskin is removed with specialized equipment designed for the procedure. The total procedure time is usually less than 15 minutes. The infant is then observed about every 15 minutes for the next hour to watch for signs of bleeding or other problems. Tylenol is also given for comfort.
The decision whether or not to circumcise is a personal choice. Do not decide to circumcise based on what other boys in PE class may think. Boys usually do not compare themselves in PE class. They are more concerned with getting themselves dressed than comparing. They know more about what dad looks like than others. Do not base your decision on circumcision due to pain, as a local anesthetic has been shown to greatly reduce the amount of pain from a circumcision. Also, if you choose to circumcise your baby do not delay until the baby is older, as this is a much more involved procedure and will require the use of general anesthesia.
Again, the decision to circumcision or not to circumcise is a personal choice. The informed decision that you make is the correct one for you. What other people choose for their child is their choice also. We would be happy to discuss this or any other concern that you might have at a free prenatal visit at the Prairie Pediatrics.