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Plymouth Hospital

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775 861
Switchboard 01752 775 861
Enquiries 01752 775 861
Outpatients 01752 761 805
Pathology South West 01392 262 165
Radiology 01752 761 826

What is the foreskin?

The foreskin is the flap of skin that covers the head of your penis. This skin flap is usually loose enough to be pulled back over the top of the penis (the glans). The foreskin protects the head of your penis from damage.

Why do I need circumcision?

  • Repeated infections may have damaged your foreskin
  • You may find sexual intercourse painful because you have a tight foreskin
  • Phimosis - a condition where the foreskin is very tight and cannot be pulled back over the head of the penis. Forcing it back may cause damage and form a ring round the penis, cutting off some blood supply
  • Balanitis - an infection with swelling and redness of the foreskin.

What happens during circumcision?

Circumcision takes 30 to 60 minutes and can be done using a variety of anaesthetics. An anaethetist will discuss what method will be used before your surgery. The procedure is usually done as a day case meaning you can go home the day of your surgery.

Your consultant will make an incision (cut) behind the head of your penis and remove the entire foreskin. In older patients the skin may be stitched using dissolvable stitches.

This procedure is available to patients aged 3+ for medical purposes only.

After circumcision
  • Take pain relief medication for the first few days following surgery
  • You may experience swelling and redness
  • Wear loose clothing
  • A bit of petroleum ointment applied to the exposed skin may help ease any irritation
  • Circumcisions in babies and young children usually heal in 7-10 days
  • Children should avoid riding a bike or other sit-on toys until all swelling has disappeared
  • School aged children should be able to return to school in about 1 week
  • Teenagers and adults can take up to 4-6 weeks to heal. Be sure and discuss any return to work with your consultant
  • Adult patients will be given specific instructions about resuming sexual activity once the wound has healed
  • Most patients make a good recovery from circumcision. As with any procedure there could be complications such as pain. bleeding or infection.
Specific complications of circumcision may include:
  • Decrease sensitivity during sexual activity
  • Damage to the urethra (tube that carries urine from the bladder)
  • Unsatisfactory appearance.