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Myth-Busting Facts About Circumcision You Need to Read!

Dr. Niren Rao | 14 Sep,2018

What is circumcision?

Circumcision is a surgical procedure in which the skin (also called foreskin or prepuce) covering the tip of the penis is removed.

Who needs a circumcision? Why circumcision is done?

The reasons of circumcision vary from religious to medical beliefs to individual preferences. In some religions such as Jews, Islam and in Christianity circumcision is routinely practised  at the time of birth or shortly thereafter because of religious beliefs.

There are a few medical conditions in which circumcision is recommended:

  • Phimosis: Inability to retract the foreskin.
  • Paraphimosis: Medical condition in which the retracted foreskin cannot be replaced back and becomes swollen and painful.
  • Recurrent balanitis and balanoposthitis: recurrent infections of the glans (tip of the penis) or the glans and foreskin, which keep coming back despite repeated treatments and consumption of antibiotics. 
  • It is recommended in repeated urinary tract infections.
  • Inability to retract the foreskin in an erected penis leading to painful intercourse.

Note: Some people opt for elective circumcision at the onset of their sexual lives to prevent any chances of infections or other problems.

How is it done?

Under antibiotic cover and anesthesia the foreskin is freed from the glans and markings are done to remove an adequate amount of the skin. Bleeding is controlled with hemostatic forceps or electrocautery. Margins are sutured with self dissolving sutures and an aseptic dressing is done.

What kind of anesthesia is used to perform circumcision?

The choice of anesthesia depends on the individual’s resistance level to pain, anxiety levels and also on the general fitness level as assessed during various medical investigations and examinations. Generally, it is done under three types of anesthesia:

LOCAL ANESTHESIA
In this, injections are given at the base of the penis, which makes the penile skin numb and the patient does not feel any pain. Usually two or three needle pricks are required to give the anesthetising drug and the skin becomes painless in about 10 minutes.

SPINAL ANESTHESIA
An injection is given in the lower back of the patient by the anaesthetist, which makes the patient’s body below his umbilicus immobile and pain free. The effect of the anesthesia lasts for about 2 hours during which the patient is unable to move his legs. Patients do not experience any pain even after the effect of anesthesia weans off.  

GENERAL ANESTHESIA
In simple words in this kind of anesthesia the anesthetist makes you sleep before the start of the surgery and wakes you up once the procedure is complete. The entire procedure is completed while the patient is unconscious (sleeping).
In all types of anesthesia the aim is to make the surgery painless and comfortable for the patient.

What kind of dressing is done post the surgery?

After the surgery a non-adhering (non-sticky) dressing is applied on the tip of the penis, which is removed the next day. Removal of the dressing does not cause any pain. Patients can themselves remove the dressings at home after wetting it with water or if they are scared to do it themselves they can get it done in the hospital itself.

Is post-operative period painful?

After the surgery as well as after the removal of the dressing most of the patients do not complain of any pain. Pain-killers are very rarely required. However one may experience a funny sensation for a few days post the surgery as and when the tip of the penis rubs against the undergarments. This sensation is temporary and becomes zero in a few days time.

How to maintain cleanliness post the surgery?

It is very important to maintain local hygiene post the surgery. One should take bath every day after the removal of the dressing and clean the penis using the same body soap you use to wash the body. There is no specific soap to be used or recommended by the urologist. 

Do I need antibiotics post the surgery?

The surgery is done under antibiotic cover. However your urologist may prescribe you antibiotics for 3-5 days to reduce the chances of infection.

What is the recovery time after circumcision?

In almost all cases circumcision is a day care procedure meaning you will be discharged from the hospital on the day of the surgery itself. After removal of the dressing you can resume all your normal activities including going to work. If you are apprehensive, a day’s rest is all that is required. Normal sexual activities should be resumed 5 to 6 weeks after circumcision.

MYTHS RELATED TO CIRCUMCISION:

Will circumcision lead to erectile dysfunction?

This is a complete myth. Circumcision does not affect your erectile potential. In fact, it may improve the erections in certain cases. In patients, who have very tight foreskin the penis is not able to achieve its full potential during erections as the skin prevents the penis from getting fully erect and may even lead to a downward curvature.

Does circumcision affect the ability to have children?

Some people who need a circumcision avoid getting it done fearing that it may hamper their ability to become a father. This is not true! This surgery has no effects on sperm production hence does not affect one’s fertility potential in any ways.

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