Circumcision In Children
What you should know
Circumcision is surgery to remove the foreskin of your child's penis. The foreskin is the fold of skin that covers the tip of the penis.
You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child.
- Anesthesia medicine may be painful when injected and cause bruising, swelling, and redness of your child's skin. Rarely, anesthesia medicine may cause seizures or decreased oxygen in your child's blood. The special tool placed on the head of his penis may become buried in his skin or displaced. Your child may bleed large amounts during the procedure, called hemorrhage. His wounds may not heal properly. Your child may be at risk for phimosis if not enough foreskin was removed during the procedure.
- The opening where your child's urine passes may become red and painful, or narrow. Lumps may form on his penis, which can become large and infected. This may turn the penis to one side when erect, and cause pain. Your child may develop a small opening from his urethra to his skin called a fistula. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body. The tip of his penis may be cut or injured during the procedure. An abnormal skin connection may form between a damaged glans and the body of his penis. Your child may need to have another procedure or surgery to fix these problems.
- Your child may get an infection after the procedure. This infection may spread to his blood, other areas of his skin, or to his brain. Very rarely, circumcision can lead to death. Without circumcision, problems such as phimosis and balanoposthitis may recur often. Your child may also have an increased risk for UTIs while he is a baby. His chances of having penile cancer, genital warts, and a HIV infection may increase later in his life. Ask your child's caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your child's procedure, medicines, or care.
Before your child's procedure:
- Bring your child's medicine bottles or a list of his medicines when you see his caregiver. Tell your child's caregiver if he has allergies, or any other medical conditions.
- Your child may need to have blood tests done before his procedure. Ask your child's caregiver for more information about these or other tests he may need.
Day of your child's procedure:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your child's procedure.
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
- Do not give your child any medicines on the day of his procedure without first asking his caregiver. Medicines include prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbs, or food supplements.
- Caregivers may insert an IV tube into your child's vein, usually in his arm. Your child may be given liquids and medicine through the IV tube.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a consent form. It gives your child's caregiver permission to do the procedure. It also explains the problems that may happen to your child, and your choices. Be sure all of your questions have been answered before you sign this form.
What will happen:
- Your child will be taken to the room where his procedure will be done. Your child will be given medicine to prevent pain from the procedure. Babies may be given a sweetened pacifier to suck on. Numbing cream may also be put on his penis. Numbing medicine may also be given as a shot at the base of his penis. For an older child, medicine may be given in an IV tube or through a breathing mask. If your child is a baby, he may be placed on a special padded board. The board will help keep him from moving during the procedure. If your child is older, he may be asked to lie on his back.
- For babies, the inner lining of the foreskin will be separated from the skin of the tip of the penis. A special tool will be placed on the head of your baby's penis. Thread may be tied tightly around a groove on the tool and around the foreskin to stop bleeding. The foreskin will be cut and the tool may be left on your child's penis until it falls off. In older children, cuts will be made on the skin of his penis. The foreskin will be removed, and the remaining skin of his penis will be connected with stitches.
After your child's procedure:
Your child will be taken to a room where he can rest after the procedure. Caregivers will watch him closely. When caregivers see that your child is OK, he may be allowed to go home. If your child is a newborn baby, he may be brought back to your hospital room. If caregivers want your child to stay in the hospital, he will be taken back to his hospital room.
This is an area where family and friends can wait until your child is able to have visitors. Leave a phone number or other means of contact where you can be reached if you leave the area.
Contact a caregiver if
- Your child cannot make it to his procedure.
- Your child gets sick (a cold or the flu).
Seek Care Immediately if
- Your child's penis or foreskin becomes red, swollen, or painful.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.