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Rady Children's Specialists

Newborn Circumcision

What is a newborn circumcision?

Removal of a male baby’s foreskin.

What is foreskin?

Foreskin is the skin covering the tip of the penis. It can be different lengths and sizes.

Why is it done?

Circumcision is often done for religious or cultural reasons. It can also be a family tradition or sometimes preventative health care. It can be done for medical reasons such as infection of the head of the penis (called balanitis), infection of the urine in a newborn baby boy, when the foreskin is too tight or when the foreskin can not be pulled back by a certain age.

What are the benefits of circumcision?

Decreased risk of urinary tract infections in boys under 1 year of age.

What does the American Academy of Pediatrics say?

The official statement is that they do not recommend routine circumcision, but the benefits outweight the risks.

Who can get a newborn circumcision?

Male babies under 6 weeks of age who weigh less than 10 pounds.

What happens during a newborn circumcision?

Your son will lie on his back on a papoose board. The penis will be cleaned and then an anesthetic will be injected with a needle into the base of the penis. A special clamp will be used and then the foreskin will be removed.  This procedure will take approximately 20 minutes. You will then be asked to stay nearby the clinic for 30 minutes and your son will be rechecked before you leave.

What happens after newborn circumcision?

It will take seven to 10 days for the penis to completely heal. During this time you may notice that the penis is swollen, red or even bruised. Pain should be treated with properly dosed infant Tylenol.

It is ok to wash the penis during this time. Please do not scrub. At each diaper change apply a dab of triple antibiotic ointment or petroleum jelly for seven days.

What are potential problems after newborn circumcision?

Problems after newborn circumcision are uncommon. Please call your doctor if there is persistent bleeding or your son does not urinate within 12 hours of the procedure.