Circumcision for Babies: What to Expect

February 4, 2019
We classify babies as boys that are under the age of 3 months. In most cases, circumcision for babies is carried out using the Plastibell circumcision technique. This procedure takes between 10 and 15 minutes and there is no stitching required, so your child will be allowed to go home a short time after. For this reason, it’s very important for you, the parent, to understand the required aftercare and what to expect as your child heals. The Healing Process After the circumcision procedure, the surgeon applies a gauze dressing to the area. To prevent the gauze from sticking to the glans, a lubricant is used. The gauze will normally fall off on its own within 24 hours of the surgery. Every child will heal differently and will do so in stages. In some cases, it can take up to a month before the penis appears completely healed. Circumcision can cause bleeding, but the cut edges of the glans will usually close-up in a day, if not a matter of hours or minutes. Instantly after the procedure your infant’s glans (head of the penis) can change colour – usually red or purple. The reason for this is that the skin that covers the glans of an uncircumcised penis is a mucous membrane, which darkens and becomes thicker when exposed after circumcision. For the first few days following surgery, you may notice off-white or yellowish patches on your child’s glans. These are just scabs, which is completely normal. After 2 or 3 days, the skin may appear yellowish-green – this is nothing to worry about, it is a normal sign of healing, not pus. Another sign of healing is swelling, which can take the appearance of a blister. Swelling will disappear in between 1 and 2 weeks. The skin neighbouring the penis usually holds it more erect. However, after circumcision there can appear to be a change in size, as the skin will become relaxed, leaving the penis looking a little smaller. Aftercare for Babies Firstly, there are a few things to be aware of. For 24 hours after the circumcision, leave your child’s lubricant gauze on until it falls off on its own. Following circumcision, bathe your child in warm water every day for a week. If the lubricant gauze hasn’t fallen off within the first 24 hours, soaking it in the bath will help to remove it (Do not remove the gauze yourself, unless advised to by a medical professional). Once the dressing is removed, you may notice discolouration, small blots of blood and skin at the top of the penis. This is normal. After each bath and nappy change, apply a topical barrier ointment, such as Vaseline (petroleum jelly), to the end of the penis to assist healing and prevent it from sticking to the nappy. For a few hours, or up to a couple of days after the procedure, your infant may be fussy from pain. Signs of pain can include difficulty sleeping and feeding, as well as crying. Your doctor will advise you on pain relief. After the first two weeks of healing, it is important to stop the skin from sticking to the glans. Complete this by gently pushing the edges of penile skin back, away from the glans. Emergency Signs During each nappy change, it is normal to see small spots of blood. However, if these spots are larger than an inch wide then visit your emergency department straight away. On the way to the hospital, create a ring with your thumb and index finger. Hold this at the top of your infant’s penis and squeeze for five minutes to slow down the bleeding. Also visit the emergency department immediately if you notice that your new-born is experiencing a fever, difficulty urinating, swelling, worsening redness or a yellow liquid pouring from the incision. More Information At Birmingham Circumcision Clinic, we are an award winning UK health care provider, with circumcision clinics in Birmingham and Sandwell. Circumcision services should always be completed in a safe and professional environment, performed by qualified doctors. Which is why we are registered with the Care Quality Commission to reassure our patients that we are providing the highest standards of care. For more information on circumcision for babies visit our complete guide. Or to book an appointment, call our circumcision clinic on 0121 250 0386.