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Circumcision- What's Your Decision?

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Diaper ChangeHaving to make the decision to circumcise your brand new son can be a difficult choice for some parents to make. For others, the decision is not so difficult due to cultural and/or religious beliefs.

Most circumcisions are performed before discharge from the hospital. Jewish circumcisions, also known as a bris, are performed on the eighth day of life.The average healing time is 7-10 days. Circumcisions performed after the first month of life usually require general anesthesia (putting the child to sleep) and take longer to heal. 

There are several documented benefits of circumcision. In August 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics updated their previous 1999 recommendation which did not find enough evidence to recommend routine circumcisions. The AAP's new recommendation states, "Evaluation of current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks and that the procedure’s benefits justify access to this procedure for families who choose it.These potential benefits include:
  • Eliminates the risk of phimosis (the tightening of the foreskin which prevents retraction of the foreskin).
  • Lower risk of urinary tract infections (UTI) in the first year of life.
  • Lower risk of penile cancer.
  • Lower risk of penile infections and inflammation.
  • Lower risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
  • Allows for easier hygiene of the penis.

Circumcision is a surgery and although the risks are minimal, it is important to review them and discuss your concerns with your physician. These risks include:
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury
  • Desensitization of the penis
  • Improper healing of the penis

Circumcision has been (and probably always will be) a controversial topic. If you are on the fence about circumcision, be sure to evaluate both the risk and the benefits and discuss these issues with your doctor. Being informed of these key issues can help you to make the best decision for your son.


American Academy of Family Practice (AAFP).
Circumcision: Position Paper on Neonatal Circumcision.

American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: Circumcision Policy StatementTASK FORCE ON CIRCUMCISION. Pediatrics peds.2012-1989; published ahead of print August 27, 2012, doi:10.1542/peds.2012-1989
Circumcision: A Guide for Parents.
Circumcision Resource Center

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