Dr Mike Levy
What is a circumcision?
Circumcision involves the removal of the foreskin from the penis, to expose the head of the penis (known as the Glans).
Who has a circumcision?
Circumcision is performed for medical or social/cultural reasons.
Medical Reasons are usually related to a too-tight foreskin or recurrent infections. This is more common in older boys.
Social / cultural reasons may be associated with firmly held cultural or religious beliefs, or more to do with social trends and personal preferences. This sort of circumcision is usually performed soon after birth - from one to four weeks old. There are a wide range of reasons why parents choose to circumcise their sons, some deeply emotional and some more pragmatic. Either way, it is a choice for informed parents to make.
There are pros and cons to circumcising your son and the current Royal Australian College of Physicians statement acknowledges this and concludes:
“It is reasonable for parents to weigh the benefits and risks of circumcision and to make the decision whether or not to circumcise their sons. When parents request a circumcision for their child the medical attendant is obliged to provide accurate unbiased and up to date information on the risks and benefits of the procedure. Parental choice should be respected.”
I fully support this and if you as parents are interested in circumcising your son, please come and chat to me about it. I provide professional and unbiased advice, offering you the information you need to make an informed decision.
How is a circumcision performed?
There are a number of methods available for this. I use the Plastibell device method, which is the most commonly used method in Australia. This device is simply a small plastic ring that fits inside the foreskin, over the head of the penis. A string is then tied on the outside of the foreskin, so that the foreskin is compressed between the ring on the inside and the string outside. This gives a good neat cosmetic appearance and the string acts to prevent any infection. The plastic ring protects the head of the penis during the procedure. The excess foreskin is removed and the ring falls off of its own accord, usually about a week later.
Is circumcision painful?
I use two methods to make sure the skin of the foreskin is completely numb before I begin.
Numbing cream: You are asked to coat the penis with numbing cream two hours before the procedure. This makes the skin numb so that he will not feel the injection of the second method - local anaesthetic,
A small injection of local anaesthetic injection which makes the penis numb.
After the initial anaesthetic, most babies sleep through the rest of the procedure.
What are the risks?
Circumcision is a simple procedure and there are few risks associated with it.
Any surgical procedure carries a small risk of either bleeding or infection - both of which can be easily manged.
There is a very small risk of injury to the penis or glans during the procedure. The Plastibell reduces this risk by covering the head of the penis.
Is any special care required after a circumcision?
No. Other than applying a tiny bit of antiseptic ointment to the ring at each nappy change, no special care is needed. You can bathe him and play with him as usual.