A circumcision is an operation that removes some of the skin that covers the penis, also known as the foreskin. Neonatal circumcision is generally done when a boy is between 1 and 10 days old, but can be done at a later date as well.

Benefits of circumcision?

  • Decreases the rate of urinary tract infections and penile infections
  • Decrease swelling of the opening at the tip of the penis: Indicated in cases of phimosis (where the foreskin cannot be pulled back) or paraphimosis (where the foreskin can be pulled back but not advanced back over the penis)
  • Lower risk of penile cancer, HIV, and STD’s

Conditions that Require Circumcision in Older Children

Phimosis is a condition in which the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back over the head of the penis. It is normal that the foreskin will not retract in infants and toddlers, and many boys cannot fully retract the foreskin until puberty. This condition typically does not require circumcision because it is essentially normal. Circumcision should only be considered if the child has infections or pain related to the phimosis.

If the foreskin is retracted and left in place, severe and painful swelling of the head of the penis may result, a condition called paraphimosis.

In some boys, the foreskin is so tight that urine collects inside of it and balloons out whenever the boy urinates. This is sometimes called a trapped penis, and it often requires surgical correction to allow the child to urinate normally.

Other Birth Defects of the Penis

Balanitis: Some boys may experience episodes of swelling and redness of the head of the penis. These infections are easily treated. However, if the problem occurs frequently, circumcision should be considered, especially if the child has phimosis or is developing urinary tract infections. In these cases, circumcision will usually prevent further infections.

Urinary tract infections: There is good evidence that uncircumcised boys are more likely to suffer urinary tract infections. After one year of age, however, these infections are rare and tend to be mild. Certain conditions, such as vesicoureteral reflux (the abnormal flow of urine backward, from the bladder into the ureters) make infections more likely, and circumcision should be done.