"A baby will make love stronger, days shorter, nights longer, bankroll smaller, home happier, clothes shabbier, the past forgotten, and the future worth living for."

           -- Unknown Author

Hand In Hand Pediatrics
725 River Road, Suite 208,     Edgewater, NJ 07020  |  tel: 201.840.8055
(We are located next to Trader Joe's)

   Benefits and Risks of Circumcision 
          By: George Chai, MD FAAP

The choice to circumcise the baby boy is a personal one for the parents to decide after weighing the risk and benefits of the procedure.  At this time, the position of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is that current scientific evidence demonstrates potential benefits of male circumcision, but it is not sufficient to recommend routine circumcision.  The procedure is not essential and that parents should determine what is in the best interest of the child based on the potential risk and benefits.

The primary benefit of male circumcision is a decrease rate of urinary tract infections (UTI) in infants especially in the first 6 months. Circumcised infants have a 3-12 fold increase in urinary tract infections compared to uncircumcised infant boys. Since the risk of UTIs in infant boys is low, what this translates to is that 1 UTI is prevented for every 100-200 circumcisions done.

Circumcision has also been shown to decrease the rate of penile skin cancer by three to six fold compared to uncircumcised infant. However, penile skin cancer is an even rarer disease that UTIs, with a rate of less than 1 per 100,000 males in the United States. 

Other benefits include better hygiene, and decreased chances of penile inflammation and unretractable foreskin. Most of these conditions are easily treatable with no significant complications.

Risk associated with circumcision occurs about 2 to 5 per 1000 cases. The most common complications of this procedure are bleeding and local infections. Other complications include unsatisfactory cosmetic results (too much or too little skin left), meatal stenosis (scar tissue around the urethral opening, leading to abnormal urinary stream), scar tissue in the area.

In either case, most complications from not having a circumcision and from having a circumcision are rare and mostly easily treatable with no significant complications. The decision to have the circumcision or not is not really a medical one, but one reflecting the personal beliefs of the parents.

What do you think? Would you circumcise your baby boy? We would love your comments. Email comments and questions to handinhandpeds@gmail.com or send us a note via website.


Article written by Dr. George Chai

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