Reasons for Procedure
Circumcision may be done to treat a foreskin that is:
- Too tight to be pulled back over the head of the penis
- Inflamed or infected
- Has other problems such as scarring or warts
It may also be done for cultural, personal, or religious reasons.
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Some problems may be:
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Excess bleeding
- The penis does not look as expected
- Change in the way the penis feels during sex
- Damage to the tip of the penis
Talk to your doctor about ways to manage things that may raise your risk of problems, such as:
- Chronic disease such as diabetes
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
You will need to:
- Arrange for a ride home.
- Talk to your doctor about all medicines and supplements you are taking. Some may need to be stopped up to 1 week before surgery.
- Do not eat or drink after midnight the night before surgery.
Local or general anesthesia may be used. Local anesthesia will numb the area. General anesthesia will cause you to sleep during surgery.
Description of the Procedure
The foreskin will be pulled from the penis and cut away. The edges of skin will be closed with stitches. Petroleum jelly and a bandage may be put on the penis.
How Long Will It Take?
Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during the procedure. Pain after the procedure can be managed with medicine.
Medicine will be given to ease pain. A cold pack may be given to ease swelling.
It will take about 10 days to heal. Some activity will be limited for up to 4 to 6 weeks.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if you have:
- Nausea and vomiting
- A lot of bleeding
- Pain that does not go away with medicine
- Redness, swelling, or any discharge from the incision
- Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
- New or worsening symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians https://familydoctor.org
Urology Care Foundation https://www.urologyhealth.org
Canadian Urological Association http://www.cua.org
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
Circumcision. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/procedure/circumcision . Accessed May 5, 2020.
Holman J, Stuessi K, et al. Adult circumcision. Am Fam Physician. 1999 Mar 15;59(6):1514-1518.
Pinto K. Circumcision controversies. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2012 Aug;59(4):977-986.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
- Review Date: 05/2020
- Update Date: 05/12/2020