On the day of surgery : A guide to Circumcision

Once you arrive at the clinic or hospital you be seen by a nurse who will ask questions about your health before performing a blood test and measuring your heart rate. You will also be asked to pay for your treatment.

If you are a parent then you will be asked these questions on behalf of your son unless he is old enough to answer them for himself.

Adult men will be asked to sign a consent form. Parents will be asked to sign a form on behalf of their son.

Babies and young boys are usually given a local anaesthetic instead of a general anaesthetic as this is considered safer. This takes the form of a gel or injection into the penis.

Older boys (teens) and adults are usually given a general anaesthetic.

Circumcision is performed as a ‘day case’and means that you or your son is able to return home on the same day. The procedure is quick and usually takes around 30 minutes.

As regards circumcision, there are two types of procedures:

  • Traditional (forceps)
  • Plastibell

Traditional (forceps) procedure

This traditional method uses forceps to remove the foreskin.

The surgeon uses a pen to mark the area to be treated before an incision is made. The foreskin is pulled back in front of the glans before being cut away with a scalpel. The forceps are used to help guide the scalpel.

Blood vessels are sealed using electrical currents via a technique called ‘bipolar diathermy’.

This clean cut is then closed with stitches and/or a special type of glue. These will be either the dissolvable or non-dissolvable stitches. If you have non-dissolvable stitches then you will need to return to the clinic at a pre-arranged date to have them removed.

A paraffin based surgical dressing is wrapped around the penis. This is designed to prevent your wound from rubbing against your underwear. It also reduces any swelling. Wearing tight briefs will provide extra support.

The traditional procedure is performed on older boys and adult men.

Plastibell procedure

This newer method involves uses a small plastic ring which is fitted around the glans and then tightened. This compression blocks the blood supply to the foreskin. The foreskin then dies and falls off with the plastic ring after a couple of weeks. The plastibell procedure is performed on babies and young boys.

Which procedure is better?

There are pros and cons to both procedures but they are both equally successful.

The traditional procedure gives an instant result but it does involve the patient having stitches and wear a surgical dressing. But this is a temporary measure and the wound usually heals within a week.

The advantage of the plastibell procedure is that the baby can be changed and bathed straightaway as there are no stitches or dressing to content with. But you do have to wait to see the results of this procedure which means after the plastic ring has fallen off.

Once you have undergone circumcision you will be returned to your room. Your wound and health in general will be checked and once the surgeon and staff are satisfied with your progress you can then return home.

You will be given an appointment for a follow up visit at the clinic before you leave. You will also be given a list of instructions on how to care for your post-circumcision wound and recovery in general.

If you are a parent then you will be given a few tips on caring for your son’s operation wound and aftercare.

The period after surgery or recovery period is discussed in further detail in the next section.


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