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JAMA Patient Page
August 21, 2013

Male Infant Circumcision

JAMA. 2013;310(7):759. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.75616

Male circumcision is a surgical procedure in which the foreskin is removed from the penis.

Most often, infant boys are circumcised soon after birth. The procedure dates back to prehistoric times and today is both a Jewish and a Muslim religious ritual. People worldwide continue to circumcise their sons for hygienic, cultural, and religious reasons.

Usually, infants are circumcised during the first few days of life, either while still in the hospital or shortly thereafter. The procedure takes only 15 to 30 minutes. Doctors recommend that babies be given pain medicine beforehand.

After the procedure, the caregiver should cover the tip of the penis with lubricated gauze. After 24 hours, only the lubricant is needed. Clean the area using a cotton ball and warm water. A soft yellow scab will form and then fall off. At first, there is likely to be some minor redness, swelling, bleeding, and discharge, but if any of these get worse or do not disappear, contact a doctor.