Circumcision is the medical term used to describe the surgical removal of the foreskin. In infants, circumcision can be done in the clinic with local anesthesia. However, after a child reaches age three months we prefer to do a circumcision in the operating room under general anesthesia. Using local anesthesia and performing the circumcision on infants older than three months can be frightening for the child.
How is the surgery done?
The foreskin has two sides, the inside skin and the outside skin. When a circumcision is done in the operation room it is performed by making a circular incision in the outside skin and a second one in the inside skin. The foreskin is then removed and the two skin edges are sewn together with stitches that dissolve. No stitches have to be removed after surgery. When a circumcision is done on a newborn it is usually done without using stitches.
Is the surgery safe?
Yes! Almost all boys can have their circumcision as an outpatient. This means that the child comes in to the outpatient surgery center, has the surgery and is ready to go home within about three hours. Emirates Hospital has well-trained pediatric anesthesiologists who have had special training in the care of children. They use continuous oxygen, heart and blood pressure monitoring to make sure that the anesthesia is safe.
Are there any possible complications with the surgery?
There are very few complications with a circumcision. The most common complication is bleeding, but this occurs in only one out of two hundred boys who have a circumcision. This bleeding might require some pressure on the site of bleeding or, rarely, a stitch. However, this is extremely unlikely. Infection or revision also are extremely rare.
Is there anything I can do to prepare my child for surgery?
Infants do very well with surgery. Children who are old enough to talk are sometimes anxious if they don’t know what will happen to them. You can ease this fear by talking about the upcoming surgery. Many local libraries have books or video tapes about going to the hospital or doctor’s office. We also have a video tape which can explain the Outpatient Surgery Center to children. Children are often fearful of an unfamiliar environment. It may help to bring a favorite toy or blanket on the day of surgery.
Like children, parents also are sometimes anxious about the unknown. Don’t hesitate to ask questions. We want you to have all of the information you need about your child’s care. It may help to write down questions as you think about them. Bring them with you to your child’s appointment and we will be happy to answer them.