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What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin of the male penis. In some cultures, female circumcision is also practised - this can range from removal of the clitoris to more extensive genital mutilation. The operation usually takes less than half an hour.

Why should my child undergo circumcision?

There are well-known religious, social, and medical reasons to recommend circumcision; however, most major medical societies have taken an "impartial" view of the procedure, neither recommending nor renouncing the practice. In the UK, ritual circumcision is practised by adherents of the Jewish and Muslim faiths. There is also evidence to suggest that circumcision in men can reduce the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection.

What techniques are available for circumcision?

Circumcision for medical reasons are performed in hospitals or clinics using general anaesthesia. A dorsal slit technique is commonly performed and the excess skin removed - finally the cut edges are stitched together with absorbable sutures.

Circumcision on religious grounds is mostly performed in homes or clinics. A plastibell technique is commonly used to remove the excess skin.

What happens at the first appointment?

The surgeon will inquire of you the reason for requesting circumcision of your child and ensure that you are fully aware of the pros and cons. He will check the medical history and examine your child to ensure that he is healthy and able to undergo circumcision. He will agree with you a date for the surgery.

Admission for surgery

Usually the procedure is performed as a day case. Your child must not eat any food from 6 hours before the operation, but he will be allowed to drink clear fluids, including tea and coffee up to 3 hours before the operation. Your child will be admitted on the day of surgery by a nurse. The surgeon and the anaesthetist will see your child prior to his operation. They will confirm that you are consenting your child to undergo surgery, all preparations are complete and it is safe to proceed with your son's operation. They will confirm that an appropriate facility is available for him to recover after surgery.

What happens in hospital after surgery?

Your child will be sent to the Ward after surgery. He will be looked after by a nurse and offered appropriate pain-killers. He will then be discharged home when it is safe to do so.

Support available during early recuperation period after surgery

It is usual for your child to experience some discomfort in passing urine and find walking difficult. The penis will swell and look bruised. He may also experience a low grade fever. Most children recover within 2-3 weeks. You will be given a number to ring for advice in case of difficulty.

Further follow up after surgery

This is usually not necessary but you may want to book an appointment to see the surgeon again.

Will further surgery be needed?

This is usually not necessary, though rarely corrective surgery may be required if your child experiences unexpected bleeding or develops a problematic scar.

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