Newborn Circumcision

What is Newborn Circumcision?

Circumcision is a surgical procedure to remove excess foreskin from the penis. Elective circumcision is performed in about 80% of newborn boys in the U.S., often performed for religious or cultural reasons. The procedure is typically performed in the hospital one or two days after birth, or before the mother and baby go home. Dr. Kern performs a large number of newborn circumcisions in the office, either in cases where the baby is born prematurely or cannot have the circumcision performed in the hospital prior to discharge, or if parents desire it to be performed by a pediatric urologist.

For newborns, circumcision is performed under a local nerve block to minimize discomfort.

How Circumcision is Performed

Dr. Kern uses a Gomco clamp to perform newborn circumcision in routine cases. Under sterile conditions, the skin of the penis is numbed with medication injected into the nerves around the penis. Then, the correct sized Gomco clamp is secured and the excess skin is trimmed.

Dr. Kern will discuss the procedure in-depth with you prior to performing it. Immediately following the procedure your doctor will return your baby to your arms so that you may provide comfort or breastfeed to calm your baby down.

What to Expect Following the Procedure

The end of the penis will typically become red and slightly swollen, then develop a yellow discharge and finally, scab over (similar to how a skinned knee might heal). This is the normal healing process and will continue to progress over the 7-14 days post procedure. Optimal healing is dependent upon parents as well. For at least three weeks following newborn circumcision, Vaseline should be applied with every diaper change.

Caring for the Circumcised Penis

  • Parents should apply ointment, such as A&D or Vaseline, to the penis every diaper change for the first three weeks following the procedure.
  • Keep the area dry. Only sponge baths should be given for the first two weeks following circumcision. If your baby’s penis becomes soiled, gently rinse it off and pat dry.
  • Watch for any signs of infection such as a green/white drainage and redness extending from the shaft of the penis up on to the belly wall.
  • Call your pediatrician or your surgeon immediately if you notice any sign of infection.

Newborn Circumcision: Benefits Vs. Risks

  • Benefit: uncircumcised penises are as easy to keep clean as a circumcised penis, provided that meticulous and proper hygiene is practiced.
  • Benefit: circumcision may decrease incidences of urinary tract infection and may offer protection against penile cancer and HPV transmission.
  • Risk: circumcision does carry a very small risk of bleeding.
  • Risk: in rare cases, a circumcision may need to be revised for various reasons after initial healing.

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