Trends in pediatric circumcision in Belgium and the Brussels University Hospital from


Potential disadvantages of male circumcision



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Potential disadvantages of male circumcision


A circumcision is a relatively safe operation and studies report few severe complications. However, mild or moderate complications are seen. The most common short-term complications are bleeding and infection. The most common long-term complications are necessity of revision of the circumcision and meatal stricture.23,24

Complications are less frequent among neonates and infants than among older ages. The nature of the procedure in this age group is simpler, the healing capability in newborns is higher and in newborns stitches are usually not needed. The age of the circumcised boy, the training and expertise of the provider and the sterility of the procedure are factors that are directly associated with the complication rate. When a circumcision is performed in non-clinical settings, there is a higher risk for adverse events. If there are complications, they are generally more serious. A retrospective Turkish study noted the complications after circumcisions in non-sterile conditions by unlicensed providers. 73% of boys reported complications. These complications were wound infection (14%), subcutaneous cysts, bleeding with needed suturing (12%), heamatoma (6%) and urinary tract infections with requirement of IV antibiotics (1.3%). In a Nigerian and Kenyan study, 80% out of 50 patients with complications after circumcision was circumcised by a non-medical provider. One boy died of septicemia, two lost their penis from gangrene and five others had permanent disability from complete or partial amputation of the glans or shaft.1,23

Few studies address the effects of a circumcision on the penile sensitivity, and the results of these studies are contradictory. Some reports show that male circumcision does not adversely affect the penile sensitivity, sexual function and satisfaction.25,26,27,28 A recently published large cohort study showed that the prepuce is in fact very important for the penile sensitivity, overall sexual satisfaction and penile functioning. Before circumcision, adult men and parents considering circumcision of their sons should be informed of the possible complications of the procedure and the possible impact on the sexuality.29




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