Alphabetic Guide to Child Care - Circumcision


Circumcision is a surgical procedure in which the foreskin, or prepuce , that covers the cone-shaped tip of the male infant's penis is removed. The Book of Genesis speaks of circumcision as a religious rite. Once relatively common in the United States, the procedure has become more rare. The American Academy of Pediatrics has stated that “routine circumcision of the newborn infant lacks medical justification.”

Usually performed a few days after birth, the procedure takes only a few minutes and can be done in various ways. A scalpel may be used, for example. Possible complications include excessive bleeding, infection, and urinary obstruction resulting from contraction of the skin at the base of the foreskin. But complications are infrequent.

The parents of the newborn male infant should decide whether to have their son circumcised or not. They may first consult their obstetrician or pediatrician. Most decisions are made on the basis of family, religious, or cultural traditions. Many family health insurance policies today provide no coverage for the procedure.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: