Risks

Circumcision is a surgical procedure and it comes with inherent risks. Different studies show complications arising in circumcision anywhere from four to 28 percent of the time. As an example, one study listed possible risks as: excessive bleeding, infection, faulty surgery, foreskin adhesions after surgery, irritation and infection — and the need to have the procedure redone.

The wound usually heals within two or three days and should be gently washed with a moist cotton ball during a bath. Petroleum jelly should be applied regularly to aid in healing and prevent infections. Most often, this is all the care the area should require.

It was also previously thought that newborns do not feel great pain. Therefore, no anesthetic was used during circumcision. Today it is known that newborns do undergo pain and trauma from the procedure.

One study showed that all babies cried loudly for a time after being circumcised and then either became agitated or sleepy and subdued for hours. Tests showed higher levels of adrenal, or stress hormones, in newly circumcised babies and erratic REM sleep patterns. Obviously the child is affected more deeply by the procedure than was previously thought. Therefore, many doctors now use a local anesthetic to reduce the pain and its impact on the child.