Did you know circumcision is one of the oldest surgical procedures in the world? In fact, historians believe this minor surgery has been performed since before recorded history. The procedure remains popular in the United States, with over 70% of adult men being circumcised.
But if you’re an uncircumcised adult or the parent of a boy, you may wonder if this common procedure is necessary.
At Urology Associates Medical Group in Burbank, California, our team of specialists wants you to feel comfortable and confident about this sensitive medical procedure, so we’ve created this short guide to explain circumcision and whether it’s necessary.
What’s involved with circumcision?
Males have a foreskin on the end of their penis that covers the tip. Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin using a scalpel or scission. The procedure leaves the tip of the penis exposed.
In the United States, most males are circumcised as infants, though the popularity of the procedure has declined in recent decades. Still, more than half of newborn males are circumcised.
While most circumcisions are performed on babies, older male children and adults may also become circumcised.
Regardless of the age of the patient, circumcision is performed the same way. At Urological Associates Medical Group, we clean the penis then numb it with a local anesthetic. We place a sterile clamp over the head of the penis, then surgically remove the foreskin.
There may be some discomfort after the procedure, but this typically resolves quickly. Although circumcision is usually a very low risk procedure, problems do occur. They most commonly include:
- Blockage of the urethra
In rare cases, more serious side effects may occur.
Is circumcision required?
Generally, circumcision isn’t medically necessary. Parents may decide to have their newborn males circumcised for social, cultural, or religious reasons.
There are medical reasons we may recommend circumcision, such as preventing bacteria from getting trapped and lowering the risk of infections.
Other reasons to consider circumcision include:
- Reduced risk of cancer of the penis
- Lower risk of sexually transmitted infections
- Presence of large or multiple genital warts on the foreskin
- Lichen sclerosus, an immune condition that contributes to infections
- Self-consciousness about being uncircumcised
- Reduced risk of urinary tract infections
Studies show that while there are significant benefits to being circumcised and that these benefits outweigh the risks, circumcision is not universally recommended. It should be an individual decision made in partnership with your medical provider.
If you have more questions about circumcision or to schedule a consultation for you or your son, contact us at Urology Associates Medical Group in Burbank, California.