Circumcision: The Surgical Procedure

  • Medical Author:
    John Mersch, MD, FAAP

    Dr. Mersch received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, San Diego, and prior to entering the University Of Southern California School Of Medicine, was a graduate student (attaining PhD candidate status) in Experimental Pathology at USC. He attended internship and residency at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

How is a circumcision done?

The circumcision may be performed using surgical clamp techniques or with a special disposable plastic device called a Plastibell. The results are equally good.

What types of specialists perform circumcision?

Pediatricians and occasionally the mother's ob-gyn will perform the circumcision of a normal newborn infant. A pediatric urologist will circumcise an older infant/child or may perform a circumcision as part of a reconstructive genital surgery procedure. In the Jewish tradition, a mohel may be selected to circumcise a healthy newborn. A mohel receives special training in performing a circumcision, as well as the religious rituals that accompany the procedure.

What should one expect after a circumcision?

Following completion of the circumcision, the practitioner may apply gauze impregnated with petroleum jelly. You should follow any instructions regarding the care of the infant given to you by the practitioner, and these might include the following:

  • Generally it is recommended that the area be cleaned several times a day with warm water.
  • At each diaper change, you can apply a small amount of unscented petroleum jelly, or your doctor might recommend application of an antibiotic ointment as well. Petroleum jelly should not be used on a Plastibell unless directed to by your physician.
  • It may take up to seven to 10 days for the area to heal.
  • After the region has healed, no further care is required except for normal hygiene.
  • At the first well-baby visit following hospital discharge, the penis should be carefully examined by the doctor and the parents given more information concerning further care.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/9/2016

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