What you can expect
During the procedure
Newborn circumcision is often done in the hospital nursery, usually within 10 days after birth.
For newborn circumcision, your son will lie on his back with his arms and legs restrained. After the penis and surrounding area are cleansed, an anesthetic will be injected into the base of the penis or applied to the penis as a cream. A special clamp or plastic ring will be attached to the penis, and the foreskin will be removed.
Afterward, the penis will be covered with an ointment, such as a topical antibiotic or petroleum jelly, and wrapped loosely with gauze. The procedure generally takes about 10 minutes.
Circumcision is similar for older boys and adults. However, the procedure might need to be done under general anesthesia, recovery might take longer and the risk of complications might be greater when done later in life.
After the procedure
It usually takes seven to 10 days for the penis to heal. The tip of the penis is likely to be sore at first, and the penis might look red, swollen or bruised. You might notice a small amount of yellow fluid on the tip of the penis as well.
If your newborn is fussy as the anesthetic wears off, hold him gently — being careful to avoid putting pressure on the penis.
It's OK to wash the penis as it heals. For newborns, change the bandage with each diaper change, and apply a dab of petroleum jelly to the tip of the penis to keep it from sticking to the diaper. Change your baby's diaper often, and make sure the diaper is loosely fastened.
If there's a plastic ring instead of a bandage, it will drop off on its own — usually within about a week. Once the penis heals, wash it with soap and water during normal bathing.
Problems after circumcision are uncommon. Contact the doctor if:
- Normal urination doesn't resume within 12 hours of the circumcision
- There's persistent bleeding
- There's foul-smelling drainage from the tip of the penis
- The plastic ring remains in place two weeks after the circumcision