Circumcision PDF Print E-mail

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Circumcision is a procedure to remove the foreskin. The foreskin is a flap of skin that covers the head of the penis and can usually be pulled back over it.


Sometimes, circumcision has to be carried out for medical reasons. This may be because the foreskin is damaged or infected and will not slide back over the head of the penis.


Circumcision is often carried out for religious reasons. Some cultures practice circumcision for hygiene reasons, and see the foreskin as unnecessary, or as causing health problems.


Some recent studies have shown that circumcision may help prevent cancer of the penis, and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections.


The Procedure


A local anaesthetic is a numbing medicine that can be injected into the base, or shaft, of the penis, or applied as a cream. Older children and adults who are circumcised are normally given a full, general anaesthetic.


Dissolvable stitches (that dissolve on their own) are usually used to close up the wound following circumcision. As circumcision can be a painful procedure, painkillers, such as paracetamol, or ibuprofen, will need to be taken for at least the first three days after the operation


The healing process can take up to three weeks.

Circumcision exposes the sensitive skin of the glans.  The penis will be red and swollen for a few days after circumcision, and and adults may find it more comfortable to wear loose clothing for a while. Petroleum ointment put directly on to the area can also help to reduce irritation.

 

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Risks of Circumcision

As with all types of surgical procedures, circumcision has some associated risks. However, complications resulting from circumcision, carried out for medical reasons, are rare.
The most common problem associated with circumcision, is bleeding and infection. However, other complications can include:


* a decrease in sensation (feeling) in the penis, particularly during sex,
* damage to the urethra (urine tube inside the penis) causing it to narrow and making it hard to pass urine,
* accidental amputation of the glans (head of the penis) which is very rare, and
* a blood infection, or blood poisoning (septicaemia).

 

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 August 2009 )