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Circumcision Service at UPMC in Central Pa.

If you’re having a baby boy, one of the first decisions you will make on his behalf is whether or not to have him circumcised. Circumcision is a surgical procedure that cuts away the foreskin that covers the head of your son’s penis.

Things to Consider

If you’re considering circumcision, you may want to discuss several things with your partner and your child’s pediatrician, including:

  • Your religious or cultural beliefs and the beliefs of your family
  • The health facts regarding circumcision
  • How you and your partner feel about circumcision
  • Whether your baby’s father is circumcised and if it would matter that your son’s penis looks different
  • Whether circumcision is covered by your insurance

The health care professionals at UPMC will respect and support your circumcision choice, whatever it may be.

Health Facts

Many people believe that an uncircumcised penis is more difficult to care for and keep clean. While that may be true at first, uncircumcised boys can learn how to clean beneath the foreskin after it becomes retractable, usually before age five.

There are several potential health benefits to circumcision, including:

  • Circumcised infants are less likely to develop urinary tract infections (UTI), especially in the first year of life.
  • Circumcised men may have a lower risk of penile cancer, although the disease is rare in both circumcised and uncircumcised males.
  • Studies show that circumcision may offer an additional line of defense against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Penile problems, such as irritation, inflammation and infection, are more common in uncircumcised males.

Additional Considerations

Although circumcision appears to have some medical benefits, it is important to know that the potential increased risk for uncircumcised males is low. For example, the increased risk of a UTI is only one percent or lower for uncircumcised males.

As with any surgical procedure, circumcision carries some risk. Complications of newborn circumcision occur in 0.2 to three percent of cases. The most frequent complications include minor bleeding and local infection, which are easily treatable.

The Procedure

You should schedule your baby's circumcision as soon as possible with an experienced professional, such as a pediatrician, obstetrician or a trained religious leader. As with any surgical procedure, you will need to sign a consent form.

There are a range of pain management options available to help keep your baby as comfortable as possible. Before the procedure, you should discuss pain management options with your physician.

After the procedure, your physician will provide you with information on how to care for your son's penis and how to spot signs of infection or other problems.

Need more information?

Talk to you doctor if you have questions about newborn screenings and tests.

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