I am a senior nursing student from the University of Minnesota. I also work on a Labor and Delivery floor. I notice that a lot of nurses and parents have a lot of questions regarding infant circumcision.
Circumcision is the surgical removal of the sleeve of skin and mucosal tissue that normally covers the glans (head) of the penis. This double layer, sometimes called the prepuce, is more commonly known as the foreskin. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Circumcision started as a religious rite practiced by the Jews and Muslims (Olds, London, Ladewig, 2000). The United States is the only "modern" country that still practices circumcision on infant boys as a regular practice to prevent infections (http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/USA/)
The infant circumcision is mainly performed using two methods. The first is the Gomco, which is the most frequently used at our hospital, and the second is the Plastibell. If the doctor uses the Plastibell, a plastic piece stays over the glans for 5-8 days, which can cause parents concerns.
In 1998, 1,113,853 infant boys were circumcised which is down 143,608 boys from 1993 (http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/USA/). In 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics stated that circumcisions should not be recommended and if they are performed that some sort of analgesia (pain medication) should be used (Olds et al, pg. 765).
Circumcision is considered surgery and some risks include the following:
Injury to the glans
Infection (raw wound is exposed to feces and urine in diaper)
Complications from anesthesia, if used
Surgical error, including removal of too much skin
In rare cases, complications can be life threatening.
Any benefit from being circumcised is under dispute. One benefit is the decreased risk of urinary tract infection (UTI). This benefit is under criticism due to studies that found no confirmed cases of UTI in non-circumcised male infants that did not have urinary birth defects (www.circumcision.org).
If you are interested in finding out more information, the following web sites will be a starting point.
www.circumcision.org email@example.com http://www.cirp.org/library/statistics/USA/) http://www.4skin.com/chymmylt/
Old, S., London, M. & Ladewig, P. (2000). Maternal Newborn Nursing: A family and community-based approach 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall Health.