It is the custom in some cultures to surgically remove the
piece of skin at the tip of the penis of a newborn baby.
This procedure is done very quickly and with the minimum
of fuss, but also the minimum of pain relief. The fact is
that this procedure is painful for the baby and will take
approximately ten days to heal. A variety of medical practitioners
(such as your GP or paediatrition) can carry out this procedure,
and some religious personnel also have the skill.
In a very tiny percentage of babies the operation is used
to solve the problem that arises if there is no hole or
a small hole at the end of the foreskin. If your doctor
believes that this may interfere with urination he may recommend
circumcision. As well as religious reasons for this procedure,
there is also a belief that circumcision causes the penis
to be easier to clean. While no scientific evidence exists
for this belief, it is strongly entrenched in many families
and cultures. While it is not believed in medical circles
that this practice reduces the risk of venereal disease,
the newest AIDS research does seem to indicate that circumcision
reduces the risk of AIDS transmission. The idea that circumcision
reduces the risk of cancer in both women and men has not
been supported by research.
Take careful note of the procedure required to care for
the circumcision wound, to reduce the risk of infection.
The area should be kept as dry as possible and cleaned gently
at every nappy change. Try to avoid submerging the wound
when bathing the baby. It is vital that you keep a careful
eye on the wound to ensure that it is healing quickly and
well. Any sign of infection (a nasty smell, or redness and
inflammation) should be reported immediately to your doctor.
While a few drops of blood may occur, any sign of actual
bleeding or pus is not normal and should also be reported.
Damage to the penis is possible if infection gets established.
However with careful cleaning and observation there is no
reason for this to happen.