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A circumcision is a surgical operation to remove all, or part of, your foreskin. This procedure is available to adult patients and children aged 3+ for medical purposes only.

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. If you're circumcised, the head of your penis is permanently exposed. Sensitivity will increase as your glans adjusts to exposure, but once healed, should feel less sensitive than before the operation.

Why do I need circumcision?

  • Repeated infections may have damaged your foreskin
  • You may find sexual intercourse painful because you have a tight foreskin and can't pull the foreskin back when erect
  • Phimosis - a condition where the foreskin is very tight and cannot be pulled back over the head of the penis, either when flaccid or erect. 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
  • Non-surgical treatments, such as creams or medication, have not helped improve your foreskin condition.

What happens during circumcision?

Circumcision takes 30 to 60 minutes.

An operation on your penis is likely to have you worrying about how painful it might be.

Fortunately, circumcision can be done using a variety of anaesthetics. An anaesthetist will discuss what method will be used before your surgery to ensure you feel no pain during the operation.

The procedure is usually done as a day case meaning you can go home the day of your surgery. You may wish to arrange for somebody to drive you home after the surgery. 

Your consultant will make an incision (cut) behind the head of your penis and remove the entire foreskin, leaving the glans exposed. The edges of the skin below the glans are stitched together. In older patients the skin may be stitched using dissolvable stitches. 

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

Recovery from circumcision

  • Take pain relief medication for the first few days following surgery
  • You may experience swelling and redness, which is normal as your penis heals
  • Wear loose clothing
  • A bit of petroleum ointment applied to the exposed skin may help ease any irritation
  • Try to keep the area dry for 24 to 48 hours and avoid soaking in a bath.
  • 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
  • Circumcision will usually leave a fine scar line below the head of the penis where the stitches were.
  • 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.
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