Risks of Circumcision

Risks of Circumcision

Circumcision is a minor operation, however all operations carry a risk of complications. The main complications are:

  • Bleeding: Although usually minor in circumcision, bleeding is a possible complication. The treatment is compression of the bleeding site with gauze until the bleeding stops. Rarely, bleeding may cause a haematoma (bleeding underneath the skin) which requires the release of the blood followed by stitching of the skin. If a child has a pre-existing bleeding condition such as haemophilia, the bleeding may persist and a blood transfusion may be required.
  • Infection: Minor local infections involving the surrounding skin may occur in less than 0.2% of cases. These are treated with an antibiotics (as an ointment or orally). Rarely, infections may need antibiotics intravenously if they are causing systemic symptoms such as a fever.
  • Inclusion cysts: This can occur from trapped smegma being at the rim of tip of the penis. This can be avoided by keeping the area cleaning the area well.
  • Buried penis: A circumcised penis may become completely covered by the fat pad in the surrounding skin. If this occurs during the healing process, the penis could develop scarring and become trapped to the surrounding skin. To avoid this, push down on the fat pad at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions to expose the penis and prevent any sticking or scarring to the surrounding skin. The problem of the buried penis disappears as the baby grows and the fat pad shrinks, exposing the penis.
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