According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 64% of male newborns in the United States undergo circumcision. Circumcision is a surgical procedure in which the infant’s foreskin is removed from his penis.
Although circumcision is often performed for religious or personal reasons, it also confers many health benefits to the child, including a 90% reduction of urinary tract infections (UTIs) during infancy.
Whether you’ve attended a circumcision before or not, if this is the first time you’ve circumcised your own son, you may wonder what to expect. Will he be in pain? How do you care for his penis after the procedure?
At Academy Park Pediatrics, PC, our expert pediatricians perform circumcision in the hospital or at our offices in Lakewood and Highlands Ranch, Colorado. Here’s what to expect on the day of and the days after your son’s circumcision.
When your baby is circumcised, we take the time to calm him and ensure he doesn’t move during the procedure. We lay him on his back on the operating table. One member of our team holds gently and soothingly until he relaxes. We may give him a sugar solution to keep him happy and calm.
We then clean his penis with an antiseptic solution to reduce the risk of infection. Next, we either apply a topical anesthetic to numb the foreskin or administer anesthetic injections to the base of his penis.
He may cry or fuss during the injections. He may also bleed a little. We carefully clean the blood and soothe him as we wait 5-10 minutes until the anesthetic has taken effect. Once the anesthetic works, he feels no more pain.
A Plastibell is a device that allows the foreskin to fall off naturally, without the need for stitches. Plastibell circumcisions are safer for your baby, and minimize the risk for infection or excessive bleeding.
Once your baby’s penis is numb, your doctor uses a probe to gently separate the foreskin from the penis. Newborn foreskins have adhesions that prevent the foreskin from being easily rolled up. They use a tool to break up the adhesions.
Once the foreskin is free, they clean the penis of smegma and blood. Using a clamp, they hold the foreskin open. Then they use a type of surgical scissors to cut through the foreskin. This single cut runs from the tip of the foreskin to its end.
Next they slip on the Plastibell device. The Plastibell fits over the penis and underneath the foreskin. They stretch the foreskin over the device.
The Plastibell features a groove that can be felt through the penile skin. They then tie a sterile string around the foreskin, in the Plastibell groove. They knot it tightly, so that circulation is cut off to the foreskin.
Next, they cut around the overhanging foreskin to remove it. Because the blood flow has been stopped, there’s very little bleeding. Once the major portion of the foreskin is gone, they remove the handle from the Plastibell.
After they remove the foreskin and Plastibell handle, they apply antiseptic ointment to your baby’s penis. Your child doesn’t require any stitches.
Over the next few days, you may notice some swelling and bruising. That should diminish after about four days. We also provide you with a painkiller and medication schedule.
Be sure to change your baby’s diaper often. Gently clean and rinse his penis with soap and water after each diaper change. Don’t use diaper wipes on his penis during the aftercare phase.
You may apply antibiotic ointment or Vaseline to his penis after a diaper change until the Plastibell falls off on its own, after about 5-7 days. Call us immediately if you notice a rare occurrence, such as: