April Rubin, MD
Fellow, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Graduate, Jewish Theological Seminary Brit Kodesh
Circumcision is a common, minor surgical procedure which is performed about 1.2 million times per year in the United States. The same procedure (including sterilized equipment) that occurs at the hospital and the doctor's office will occur at your home. As an obstetrician/gynecologist I have performed thousands of circumcisions on babies I have delivered without any complications.
In addition to the religious significance of circumcision, there are some medical benefits. These include a reduction in urinary tract infections (on the order of three to ten times less frequent than in those who are not circumcised) and an almost complete elimination of penile cancer. Sexually transmitted diseases are less likely to be transmitted if you are circumcised (including AIDS). There is no evidence that circumcision affects sexual function or the ability to feel pleasure. In fact, a survey of adult males suggested less sexual dysfunction in circumcised adult men.
As with any medical procedure, it is important to know about the risks. These include bleeding, infection and a poor cosmetic result. Fortunately, these occur at a rate of approximately 0.2%, and most of these are minor bleeding. More serious complications are extremely rare and are usually related to faulty technique, untrained individuals performing the procedure, or unsafe circumstances for the procedure.
The pain of circumcision can be significantly reduced. I use a combination of three separate methods for pain relief. First, I have the parents give Tylenol to the baby before the brit. Second, I apply a topical anesthetic or an injectable anesthetic to the penis before the procedure. Lastly I give the baby either a pacifier or gauze saturated with sweet wine during the procedure. Parents rarely report any increased fussiness in the baby after the circumcision.
Please feel free to ask me any further questions regarding the benefits and risks of circumcision. More detailed discussion of the benefits and risks of circumcision may be found in Pediatrics, Volume 130, No. 3, September 1, 2012, p. 585-586 (American Academy of Pediatrics: Circumcision Policy Statement).
After you have had a chance to have all your questions answered, I will have you fill out a routine medical consent form prior to the brit. I have enclosed this as the last page of this document for your information.