You may have heard the terminology circumcised or circumcision at one point or another. Circumcision is basically the removal of the foreskin that envelopes the head of the flaccid penis. Males are born with a layer of skin, which is also referred to as prepuce, at the front of their genitalia i.e. the glans. The procedure whereby this film of extraneous skin is eliminated from their unerect penis is called circumcision.
The amount of skin attached to the anterior varies from one male to another. While one newborn may have a virtually nonexistent foreskin, another child may have enough that it protrudes from their glans. This is what causes the erection of certain males to display a loose foreskin that peeks from the head of their penis.
In uncircumcised males, the head of their manhood is a shade of pink. This becomes clear when the head of their genitalia emanates in the process of an erection. This inadvertently gives the penis a two-tone image.
With regards to newborns, their foreskin is attached to the area beneath their penis and gradually detaches in the first few years of their lives in the vast majority of cases. When the procedure is performed, the foreskin disconnects simply through a number of different surgical techniques.
In most cases, if a disease or disorder develops in an individual, it is understood that they will seek treatment with the hope of improving their health. In this particular instance, circumcision is often a choice. In fact, religion is one of the foremost reasons for the performance of circumcisions.
The rules and regulations of both Islam (Khitan) and Judaism (Brit Milah) dictate that newborns must be circumcised. Another rationale for circumcisions includes personal decisions, aesthetic preference, and reduction of health risks.
Nevertheless, circumcision is a unique medical proposition based on the fact that we can discuss its benefits and drawbacks. First of all, there are several advantages to the operation. Infants who undergo the procedure are less likely to develop urinary tract infections (UTIs) for one. This is particularly true in the first few months post birth. UTI is a recurring disease in newborn males and those who remain uncircumcised are 10 times more likely to contract this affliction.
Furthermore, circumcision also diminishes the risk of penile cancer. Research has also indicated that those who are subjected to this procedure are less prone to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and Genital Herpes.
Concerns pertaining to the penis, such as agitation, swellings, and infections are also more common in uncircumcised males. Also, circumcised genitalia is considered more sanitary, since it is more effortless to keep it clean compared to uncircumcised ones.
On the other hand, there are a few risks attached to circumcision, a caveat that applies to all medical procedures. Fortunately, these disadvantages are fundamentally insignificant, although there are cases where complications may arise. For example, any circumcision-related predicaments in newborns are only found in between 0.2% to 2% of cases. Out of these, the most common are minor bleeding and infections. Thankfully, both concerns can be rectified with the adequate treatment.
Another issue with circumcision is that the procedure can prove painful for newborns. This is precisely why pain relief medication is administered to babies when they are circumcised. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests that newborns who are circumcised should be given anesthesia, which has since become standard practice.
There are two main categories of local anesthetic that may be used on newborns to manage their discomfort. One is a topical ointment, which is applied to their penis and warrants around half an hour before it is entirely effective. The other is provided through an injection and needs less time to be active. Also, acetaminophen is administered by some pediatricians. It is known to have a longer lasting effect and may last hours after the circumcision has been performed.
Preparation and Performance
Now we will discuss the prerequisites and practice of circumcision. In major cases, the procedure is completed while the newborn is still admitted to the hospital. There are multiple practitioners who have the training to perform a circumcision, such as pediatricians and obstetricians.
It is mandatory for parents to sign a consent form before the operation. This is par for the course and is really a formality. In cases involving children and adults too, a circumcision is scheduled in a hospital or surgical center on an outpatient basis. This is defined as a situation where the patient is discharged on the same day.
We can delve into the actual procedure as well. It is performed by the usual suspects, such as pediatricians, who are doctors that deal exclusively with cases involving children. Other trained personnel that may do a circumcision include surgeons and urologists. Like we mentioned before, circumcisions that are done owing to religious reasons may be completed by those who are skilled in the matter, since the method may possibly differ based on the religion.
As far as newborns are concerned, they are placed tenderly on their backs and their arms and legs are kept at a distance from their genitals. The anesthetic is then administered via cream or injection so that it is numb.
Doctors performing the procedure may use one of several methods at their disposal. This is typically determined by the physician’s choice. The most popular techniques that are executed are called the Gomco clamp, Plastibell device, and the Mogen clamp.
All three of the aforementioned approaches involve slashing the circulation of blood to the foreskin so that there is no bleeding when the doctor slices the foreskin. The entire process of circumcision takes a total of 15 to 30 minutes maximum.