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Circumcision in babies: learn more about the procedure and when to do it

Mothers, as a rule, start to worry about the health of their offspring from pregnancy. Mothers of baby boys may have an extra concern: phimosis, which is the inability to expose the glans of the penis, because the skin that covers it doesn’t have enough opening.

Initially, the pediatrician may indicate the use of a specific ointment, but if the problem persists, surgery can be resorted to, which is called circumcision.

Do you know when it is recommended and how this procedure is done? Find it out:


Neuropediatrician Clay Brites explains that circumcision is a procedure also called postectomy or amputation of the foreskin. It is, precisely, the removal of the foreskin, a skin that covers the penile glans.

Culturally and religiously it can also be withdrawn. In Jewish tradition, for example, the procedure corresponds to Catholic baptism and is done with newborn babies.

About 80% of newborn boys have the glance protected by the foreskin and it is normal that in the first years it cannot retract. When phimosis persists, circumcision is indicated, usually after 2 years of age.

The procedure in babies is quite simple. Local anesthesia is used and takes about ten minutes. In children, general anesthesia is recommended. You can go home the same day and healing occurs within a week.


  • 12 times less likely to have a urinary tract infection.
  • 10 times less likely to develop penile cancer.
  • Circumcised men acquire and transmit less HPV.
  • Countries where boys are circumcised at birth have lower rates of cervical cancer. This is directly linked to the hygiene of the glans.
  • Less chances of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases.
  • 15% lower risk of prostate cancer.
  • It can prevent pain when urinating.

Who is it suitable for?

Currently, there is no consensus on recommending circumcision. This is because phimosis disappears over time in most cases.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, however, “there is scientific evidence demonstrating potential medical benefits of performing circumcision in male newborns, however, there is no recommendation for routine circumcision in infants.”

In Brazil, the number of boys circumcised at birth is very low. Other countries have adopted it as a recommendation. In the United States, 65% of male babies are circumcised, and in Canada, 48%.

From 4 months, parents can, at bath time, gently pull the foreskin, but be careful not to hurt it. Later, the use of a corticosteroid ointment may be indicated, which promotes relaxation of the ring and allows the glans to be exposed.

When these methods are not sufficient, circumcision is indicated.


Circumcision is a simple procedure that poses virtually no risk. However, as it is a surgery, infections or minor bleeding can always occur.

But Brites emphasizes that, normally, “it is a procedure with little risk of complications and is indicated only after the child is out of diapers”.

Post-operative care

In the postoperative period, physical efforts should be avoided, such as the practice of sports, for example.

“The region must be kept clean and well-aerated, and protect the child from manipulating or moving it”, explains Brites.

Hygiene should be done with soap and water and, in cases of pain, there is control with painkillers, according to medical advice. The doctor may also indicate the use of dressing on the spot and the use of non-adherent healing ointment.

Circumcision is a procedure that deserves attention and guidance from professionals. See a doctor to make sure it is right for your child.

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