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Adult Male Circumcision


Circumcision is surgery to remove the foreskin of the penis. The foreskin is the fold of skin that covers the tip of the penis.


Before your procedure:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • Gown: A hospital gown is used so that caregivers can easily check and treat you. Caregivers will show you how to put on your gown. When you feel better you may be able to wear your own gown or pajamas.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Pre-op care: You may be given medicine right before your procedure or surgery. This medicine may make you feel relaxed and sleepy. You are taken on a stretcher to the room where your procedure or surgery will be done, and then you are moved to a table or bed.
  • Medicines:
    • Antianxiety medicine: This medicine may be given to decrease anxiety and help you feel calm and relaxed.
    • Topical numbing cream: A numbing cream may be applied to the skin of the penis 30 to 60 minutes before the procedure. This may decrease the pain when anesthesia is injected during the procedure.
  • Monitoring:
    • Heart monitor: This is also called an ECG or EKG. Sticky pads placed on your skin record your heart's electrical activity.
    • A pulse oximeter is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. A cord with a clip or sticky strip is placed on your finger, ear, or toe. The other end of the cord is hooked to a machine.
    • Vital signs: Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.
  • Anesthesia: This medicine is given to make you comfortable. You may not feel discomfort, pressure, or pain. An adult will need to drive you home and should stay with you for 24 hours. Ask your caregiver if you can drive or use machinery within 24 hours. Also ask if and when you can drink alcohol or use over-the-counter medicine. You may not want to make important decisions until 24 hours have passed.
  • If you are given general anesthesia, an endotracheal tube (ET) connected to a breathing machine may be put into your mouth or nose. The tube is used to keep your airway open and help you breathe during your surgery.

During your procedure:

  • Soap, water, and antiseptics (germ-killing liquids) are used to clean your abdomen and genital area. Sheets are put over you to keep the procedure area clean.
  • During a dorsal slit technique , your healthcare provider grasps the foreskin with forceps. He makes an incision on the top part of the foreskin. Scissors or a special knife are used to make an incision. After making the slit, the foreskin is pulled back to expose the glans. Your healthcare provider cuts off the foreskin and uses pressure or electrocautery (electric current) to control any bleeding. Your incision is closed with stitches or an adhesive (glue-like substance). A bandage with petroleum jelly on it is placed over the incision.
  • In a sleeve technique , a line is drawn around the base of the foreskin. This line serves as a marker where the incisions are made. It is also used to measure the correct amount of foreskin to be removed. Your healthcare provider makes two cuts around the base of the foreskin and the inside of the foreskin. This releases a sleeve (tube) of foreskin, which is removed by pulling it over the glans. The cut edges of the ring-like gap that is left are filled in by pulling up the remaining foreskin. Pressure or electrocautery (electric current) may be used to control any bleeding. Your incision is closed with stitches or an adhesive (glue-like substance). A bandage with petroleum jelly on it is placed over the incision.

After your procedure:

You may lie in bed and rest for a while since the procedure may be tiring. Healthcare providers will watch you closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is OK. When your healthcare provider sees that you are OK, you will be allowed to change clothes and go home. If your healthcare provider wants you to stay in the hospital, you will be taken back to your hospital room. The bandages used to cover your stitches help keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove the bandages soon after your procedure to check your wounds. Ask your healthcare provider for information on how to take care of your wound.

  • Activity: You may need to walk around the same day of surgery, or the day after. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed. Do not get out of bed on your own until your caregiver says you can. Talk to caregivers before you get up the first time. They may need to help you stand up safely. When you are able to get up on your own, sit or lie down right away if you feel weak or dizzy. Then press the call light button to let caregivers know you need help.
  • You will be able to drink liquids and eat certain foods once your stomach function returns after surgery. You may be given ice chips at first. Then you will get liquids such as water, broth, juice, and clear soft drinks. If your stomach does not become upset, you may then be given soft foods, such as ice cream and applesauce. Once you can eat soft foods easily, you may slowly begin to eat solid foods.
  • Medicines: You may need any of the following:
    • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
    • Antinausea medicine: This medicine may be given to calm your stomach and to help prevent vomiting.
    • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.
      • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.
      • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Monitoring: Healthcare providers may check for a pulse in your arms, wrists, legs, or feet. This helps healthcare providers learn if you have problems with blood flow after your procedure.


  • Adult male circumcision is usually a common and safe procedure, though there are always risks with this procedure. Your penis, prostate, other parts of the urinary tract, blood vessels, or nerves may get injured during the procedure. This may cause you to have problems when passing urine or having sex. You may also have swelling, pelvic pain, or a numb feeling in your penis. You may bleed more than usual or get an infection. You may have an erection before you have completely healed. This may cause your sutures or the adhesive to break and your incision to open up. You may need more surgery if this happens. Your penis may not have as much feeling as it did before. It also may not look the way you expected it to look like after the procedure.
  • Without this procedure, the conditions affecting your penis may continue and your symptoms may get worse. You may have serious medical problems, such as a severe infection or an increased risk of getting a STD, HIV, or penile cancer. Ask your healthcare provider if you are worried or have questions about your procedure, condition, or care.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.