All About Circumcision

The whats, whys, and hows about newborn circumcision.

What It Is

When boys are born, they have a piece of skin that covers the end of the penis, called the foreskin. Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin to expose the tip of the penis.

A newborn must be stable and healthy to be circumcised. If a parent decides to have her baby circumcised, the procedure is usually performed in the baby's first few days of life (assuming the procedure will not be taking place during a religious ceremony). To perform the procedure, the doctor places the baby on a special table and cleans the baby's penis and foreskin. A special clamp is attached to the penis, and the foreskin is removed. Finally, ointment and gauze or a plastic ring are placed over the cut to protect it from rubbing against the diaper.

The procedure is done quickly. The baby may cry during the procedure and for a short while afterward. Local anesthesia can greatly reduce your baby's discomfort. If you decide to have your son circumcised, talk with your child's doctor about anesthesia options.

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