Circumcision of infant boys
has been practised for centuries for religious and cultural
reasons. It involves the removal of the prepuce of the foreskin,
which is the skin that covers the tip of the penis.
Some believe there are benefits such as cleanliness and
reduced cancer risk. It also avoids the occasional need
for it to be done when the child is older involving a general
anaesthetic and significant postoperative discomfort.
Deciding whether to have your newborn son circumcised can
be difficult. You will have to consider both the benefits
and risks of circumcision. Other factors such as your culture,
religion and personal preference will also affect your decision.
As parents you have the right to decide what is in the best
interests of your child. The information contained in this
pamphlet may help you make your decision. If you have any
concerns or questions, talk to one of our doctors before
making an appointment for this procedure.
there any benefits from circumcision?
Studies have provided conflicting results. Most authorities
say that the benefits of circumcision are not significant
enough to recommend it as a routine procedure. Urine infection
and some sexually transmitted infections are thought to
be less common in circumcised boys. Cancer of the penis
although rare is also less common in men circumcised as
How is circumcision done?
There are many different methods used, but our research
shows that the Plastibell device is one of the safest to
use in infants under local anaesthetic. The Plastibell is
a plastic ring that is fitted over the head of the penis
under the foreskin. It is then firmly secured by a special
tie so that no stitches or dressings are required. The remaining
foreskin is then removed leaving a consistent length of
foreskin. The Plastibell is designed so that the baby can
What after-care is required?
If your son is distressed following the procedure you can
give him paracetamol. For babies 2-3 weeks of age, the dose
is usually 1-2ml of paracetamol (120Mg/5mI) depending on
their weight. The doctor will advise you of any change in
dose. Your son can be bathed and changed normally. The Plastibell
ring will come off by itself after 3 to 5 days leaving a
narrow open area of skin which heals over naturally in about
1 week. You do not need to put any special creams or dressings
on the penis but a small amount of vaseline may help if
the skin sticks to the nappy. You can use either disposable
or cloth nappies.
The circumcision is done using a local anaesthetic injection
and after giving paracetamol by mouth. The procedure is
normally relatively quick with minimal discomfort and baby
frequently settles quickly after a feed. Occasionally a
further dose of paracetamol is required 4 to 6 hours later.
What is the best age for
The ideal time is between 1 to 3 weeks of age but it can
be done up to 3 months of age.
Are there any complications?
Both Dr Connell and Dr Russell are highly experienced having
done over 5000
operations. This method has a very low rate of complications.
Parents should notify
the doctor beforehand of any family history of bleeding
problems or if your baby has
not had the Vitamin K injection at delivery. Occasionally
there can be minor
infection or bleeding. The amount of foreskin removed can
vary. Longer term there
occasionally can be narrowing of the urinary outlet or anaesthetic
should phone if:
||There is any
||The ring slips back onto
the penile shaft
||The penis becomes increasingly
red or swollen
||The baby remains very
||He has not urinated after
||He develops a fever
For a detailed independent review of circumcision,
please refer to the RACP postional statement (pdf), and their website www.racp.edu.au.
To make an appointment please call the Hillsborough Medical Centre - 09 6257010
during work hours.
For emergencies after-hours please use the mobile numbers located on our contact page.