Deciding About Circumcision
Parents usually have many questions when deciding whether to have a newborn son circumcised. You'll need to consider both the risks and the benefits of circumcision when making your decision. Other factors such as your cultural, religious, and personal preferences will also affect your choice.
We offer circumcision as a service to those parents who chose to have the procedure. Talk with your baby's doctor about any concerns you have.
What Circumcision Is
Circumcision is surgery to remove the foreskin of the penis. The foreskin is the skin that covers the head of the penis. In healthy infants, circumcision is usually done in the first few days of life. It isn't medically necessary. The procedure takes about 15 minutes and a local anesthetic is usually used.
Deciding Whether or Not to Circumcise
Think about special reasons that affect your choice:
Reasons you might not choose circumcision:
- It isn't usually medically necessary.
- It can be painful for your baby.
- As with all surgeries, there is some risk.
- If the baby's father or other males in your family aren't circumcised.
Reasons you might choose circumcision:
- Your religion or culture practices circumcision.
- The surgery might prevent some infections (bladder infections, infections under the foreskin).
- If the baby's father or other males in your family are circumcised.
Risks and Benefits
The surgical risks are very low. They include slight risks of:
- Scarring of the urinary opening
- Poor cosmetic results
Potential medical benefits include:
- Slightly lower chance of urinary tract infections during the first year of life.
- Prevention of phimosis, an uncommon condition when a male is not able to pull back the foreskin. A small number of males will need medical treatment or circumcision for this later in life.
- Lower risk of getting cancer of the penis (a very rare cancer in both circumcised and uncircumcised males).
- Prevention of infection of the foreskin.
- Slightly lower chance of getting sexually transmitted diseases.
Group Health and Circumcision
Routine circumcision might not be a covered benefit under your health plan. If you have any questions, contact Customer Service.
Taking Care of Baby's Uncircumcised Penis
If your baby isn't circumcised, keep your son's penis clean with gentle washing in his daily bath. Don't force the foreskin back. Forcing can cause bleeding, swelling, and pain. The foreskin will pull back naturally on its own sometime between infancy and puberty. Until then, no special care is needed.
Taking Care of Baby's Circumcised Penis
For the first week, put petroleum jelly on the head of your son's penis every time you change his diaper to keep the scab from sticking to the diaper. Wash his penis by dripping warm water over it. Pat dry with a soft towel. Don't use alcohol or baby wipes. Once the penis has healed, regular baths will keep it clean.
It is common for the circumcision site to look red. Call your doctor if it seems to get worse.