The Facts On Circumcision: FAQ’s, What You Need To Know

What is circumcision

Circumcision is a very common procedure done worldwide. It is simply the removal of excess skin over the head of the penis. This excess skin is known as the foreskin.

How common is circumcision?

Circumcision is practiced all over the world. 3 billion males are circumcised worldwide. That is three out of four men globally. Some males are circumcised as infants while others are circumcised as adults.

Australia has low rates of circumcised males. Only 20% of males are circumcised. That is 1 in every 5 men.

Reasons for circumcision

Males gets circumcisions for different reasons. This may be due to

  1. Preventative health reasons
    • a. Circumcision reduces
      • i. Risk of urinary tract infections
      • ii. Risk of cquiring ulcerative sexually transmitted disease
      • iii. Risk of developing penile cancer
      • iv. Risk of foreskin complications which may cause recurrent penile infections or painful sex
      • v. Risk of acquiring HIV in heterosexual males
  2. Cultural reasons
    • a. It is common practice for Pacific Islanders, Philippinoes and North Americans to have their sons’s circumcised
  3. Religious reasons
    • a. It is common practice for Muslims, Jews and Orthodox Christians to have their son’s circumcised

There are multiple methods in completing circumcision. Below are the different methods and submethods

  1. Gomco
    • a. This is only performed in boys less than 2mths. The blood vessels are crushed for 4 minutes allowing for bleeding to seize. The foreskin is then removed
    • b. It has the least risk of infection because there is no foreign body on the child’s penis
    • c. There is a higher chance of bleeding with this method. If bleeding occurs this is fixed buy tying a suture at the bleeding sight of the penis
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  2. Bell method
    • a. A ring is placed over the penis and a string is tied across the ring. This stops bleeding and the foreskin is removed once bleeding stops
    • b. This method has low risk of bleeding
    • c. It is performed on infants to boys about 4 years of age. It has a maximum diameter of 17mm. If a child’s penis is bigger than this the bell method is not suitable for him
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  3. Shang ring
    • a. This is used in males with a penis size greater than 17mm
    • b. In this method, we compress the foreskin between 2 rings allowing for bleeding to cease. Once this is achieved we remove the foreskin
    • c. The Shang ring is a new method of circumcision in Australia. It has been in existence around the world since 2005
    • d. It’s advantage over conventional circumcision is
      • i. Shorter procedure time
      • ii. No suturing, less bleeding
      • iii. Fewer adverse effects
      • iv. Better cosmetic outcomes
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  4. Conventional circumcision
    • a. This method takes longer, has a higher chance of bleeding complications and recovery is more difficult for the patient
    • b. Three methods of conventional circumcision exist
      • i. Forceps guided
        • In this method excess skin can be left over the head of the penis and the head of the penis can’t be seen during foreskin removal. This increase risk of partial head of penis amputation.
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      • ii. Dorsal slit method
        • This method takes longer to perform but is superior to the forceps guided method because the head of the penis is visible when removing the foreskin
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      • iii. Sleeve resection method
        • This method produces the best cosmetic results of the three conventional methods of circumcision. However, it takes the longest time to complete.
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Does circumcision have health benefits?

Yes, Circumcision has health benefits. Benefits include:
  • i. Decreased Risk of urinary tract infections
  • ii. Decrease risk of Acquiring ulcerative sexually transmitted disease
  • iii. Decreased Risk of developing penile cancer
  • iv. No Risk of foreskin complications which may cause recurrent penile infections or painful sex
  • v. Decrease Risk of acquiring HIV in heterosexual males by up to 60%

Does circumcision have risks?

All surgeries have risks. General risks of circumcision include

  • Infection
  • Bleeding

There are specific risks with specific methods

  • Gomco
    1. General risks
  • Bell
    1. General risks
    2. Ring retention
    3. Ring slipping back
  • Shang Ring
    1. General risks
  • Conventional Circumcision
    1. Forceps guided
      • General risks
      • Amputation of penile head
      • Urethral injury
    2. Dorsal slit
      • General risks
      • Urethral injury
    3. Sleeve resection
      • General risks
      • Urethral injury

Conclusion

Circumcision is a very common procedure performed worldwide. It can be performed in infants, young boys, adolescents or adults. It is performed for various reasons including preventative health, religious and cultural reasons.

The decision to have you son circumcised is a personal decision to make. There is no right or wrong answer. To find out more you can book a consultation with Circumcision Vasectomy Australia and discuss with an experienced and trusted doctor.