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Circumcision is the surgical removal of the skin covering the tip of the penis. The procedure is fairly common for newborn boys in certain parts of the world, including the U.S. Newborn circumcision often is performed in the hospital nursery or by your pediatrician shortly after discharge. Circumcision after the newborn period is possible, but it's a more complex procedure and often performed by a urologist.
Possible benefits of circumcision include:
- Easier hygiene
Circumcision makes it simpler to wash the penis. However, boys with uncircumcised penises can be taught to wash regularly beneath the foreskin.
- Decreased risk of urinary tract infections
The risk of urinary tract infections in males is low, but these infections are more common in uncircumcised males. Severe infections early in life can lead to kidney problems later.
- Decreased risk of sexually transmitted infections
Circumcised men might have a lower risk of certain sexually transmitted infections. Still, safe sexual practices remain essential.
- Prevention of penile problems
Occasionally, the foreskin on an uncircumcised penis can be difficult or impossible to retract (phimosis). This can lead to inflammation of the foreskin or head of the penis.
- Decreased risk of penile cancer
Although cancer of the penis is rare, it's less common in circumcised men. In addition, cervical cancer is less common in the female sexual partners of circumcised men.
Circumcision is similar for older boys and adults. However, the procedure might need to be done under general anesthesia, recovery might take longer and the risk of complications might be greater when done later in life.