The Circumcision Decision

The procedure

After the injection of a local anesthetic into the back of the penis, the foreskin is separated from the surface of the glans with blunt forceps. An incision is made along the length of the foreskin, and a circular band of tissue is cut or crushed using one of several devices.

Hemorrhage and infection are the two most common complications following circumcision, although the rates are extremely low. The incidence of complications varies between 0.2 percent and 3 percent.

Circumcision is the fifth most common procedure performed in the United States today, and about one man in six is circumcised worldwide. But the rate of newborn boys leaving the hospital uncircumcised is increasing.

According to one recent urological study, "The debate about whether to circumcise infants in the neonatal period likely will continue for some time. As the medical and ethical issues are discussed and studied, however, economic factors are beginning to limit the practice in the United States. For example, Medicaid no longer funds neonatal circumcision in 11 states. Private insurers likely will follow the lead of state health insurance, and a decline in the rate of circumcision will follow. As this shift in reimbursement occurs, parents who believe that circumcision is a medically necessary practice will need to be reassured that their child may lead a healthy life with an intact foreskin" (Hutcheson, 2004).

Talk with other moms about the circumcision decision.

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