Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin (or prepuce) from the penis.

Complication rates depend on the type of study, setting, person operating, patient age, and surgical technique or instrument used.

The most common complications are minor bleeding and local infection.

In large studies of infant circumcision in the US, complications rates range from 0.2-2.0%.

The most commonly reported complications: pain, swelling, haematoma, bleeding. Damage to the penis, delayed wound healing, and problems with appearance are less common.

Do you want to know more about circumcision?

What is circumcision? Is circumcision only performed for religious reasons? Does circumcision affect your sex life? Should I have my son circumcised?

These are just a few of the many questions people ask about circumcision. It is a complex and highly sensitive subject which we have discussed in an objective manner.

What is circumcision?

Circumcision is a surgical procedure which involves removing part or the entire foreskin of the penis. This is often performed for religious or cultural reasons although it will be carried out where there is a demonstrable medical need.

This comprehensive guide to circumcision includes information on what circumcision is; the religious, cultural and medical reasons for circumcision; popular circumcision myths; the actual procedure and possible alternatives.

Adult and child circumcision

Most people think of circumcision in regard to infants but adult men are equally affected. In response to this we have put together a guide which discusses circumcision in both men and boys.

A structured guide about circumcision

In order to help you we have structured this guide as follows:

This guide starts off with a short overview of the male sexual organs, particularly the penis and foreskin. This may be useful as background information, especially when talking to a healthcare professional.

This is followed a section about circumcision which looks at the history of this controversial procedure. It also looks at how common circumcision is.

We also discuss the cultural and religious reasons for circumcision which most people assume is the main reason for this procedure. However, there are medical conditions in which a circumcision is a necessary form of treatment. This is also discussed further in this guide.

Non-judgemental approach to circumcision

This is a highly charged subject so we have included a section on the arguments for and against circumcision. Critics of circumcision argue that there is no justification for this procedure and that in some cases it may do more harm than good.

Proponents for circumcision cite not only religious reasons but medical ones as well. They claim that circumcision is effective at treating urgent medical cases as well as acting as a preventative measure, e.g. protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

What do you think? These are both valid standpoints which we have given equal weighting to and are discussed without any bias.

It also includes a section on female circumcision: this is a difficult and emotionally laden subject which is beyond the scope of this guide. For that reason alone we have included a section but this guide is about male circumcision only.

This guide is here to help and advise you about circumcision. It remains neutral at all times and does not attempt to persuade you to choose a particular course of action. We are not advocates for circumcision but neither do we dissuade people either.

It is important to separate fact from fiction. Several myths have sprung up about circumcision which we have dissected within this guide. If you are about to undergo circumcision then the last thing you want is someone telling you an old wives tale or making a remark which is designed to be funny.

The main section of the guide discusses the circumcision procedure. The thought of having surgery can be nerve wracking but circumcision is a quick and simple procedure that can be performed as a ‘day case’. This means that you return home the same day - even if you have had a general anaesthetic.

If surgery is not for you or you are not suitable then there are alternatives, such as ‘preputioplasty’. This and other options are discussed further in this guide.

Finally, there is a section about ‘foreskin restoration’ which is aimed at men who wish to increase sensitivity in that area.

What we do hope is that this guide gives you the information that you need: whether you need to make a rational decision about this procedure, find out more about foreskin restoration or explore the cultural reasons for circumcision.

This applies to all: whether you are a man who has been circumcised, the parent of a boy about to undergo circumcision or are simply interested in the ethical implications of this procedure.

We hope we have covered all aspects of circumcision but if you have any further questions then visit our circumcision FAQs section.

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