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Circumcision is the removal of the foreskin of the penis. The foreskin is a flap of skin that covers the tip of the penis.
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In the US, the procedure is mostly done for cultural and/or religious reasons. It is usually done on babies within the first few days of life. It may be done on older boys or men if there is a medical reason.
Certain health benefits are thought to be associated with circumcision. Many health professionals believe these benefits are slim. Circumcision may be associated with decreased risks of:
- Urinary tract infection
- Phimosis (tightening of the foreskin, which can be severe enough to close off the opening to the penis)
- Penile cancer
- Certain sexually transmitted diseases like HIV infection
Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have your son circumcised, your doctor will review a list of possible complications which may include:
- Reaction to drugs used for anesthesia
- Unsatisfactory cosmetic outcome
- Decreased penile sensation
- Damage to the tip of the penis
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
- Infants with bleeding disorders
- Infants with a family history of bleeding disorders
- Infants whose mothers were taking blood thinners during pregnancy
- Infants with penile deformities whose foreskin may be needed to repair the deformity
- Premature infants
- Infants with infections or serious jaundice at the time of the...