If it’s your first time caring for a baby boy, you might feel unsure about the right way to manage your newborn’s genitalia. But don’t worry — the circumcision of a newborn is a simple procedure done by circumcision specialists. They will guide you and discuss the process and the possible risks.
What is Circumcision Surgery?
Males are born with a piece of skin covering the head (glans) of the penis, known as the foreskin. Circumcision surgery involves the removal of the foreskin.
Typically, circumcision is performed within the first ten days of a baby’s birth, often within the initial 48 hours. The procedure takes place either in the hospital or, in the case of certain religious ritual circumcisions, at home. Suppose you choose to have your son circumcised. In that case, your paediatrician, family doctor, or OBGYN will conduct the surgery before your baby leaves the hospital, providing information about the procedure and potential risks.
If circumcision is delayed beyond the first ten days, it may be more challenging and could require general anaesthesia to ensure the baby is sleepy and feels less pain. There are instances where doctors may opt to perform the surgery later or not at all, citing reasons such as:
- Premature babies or those with specific medical concerns might delay circumcision until they are ready to leave the hospital or until a later date.
- Babies born with physical abnormalities of the penis that require surgical correction may not undergo circumcision because the foreskin may be necessary for future reconstructive surgery.
What to Expect After the Circumcision Surgery?
You need to learn about proper care immediately and in the days following a baby’s circumcision. Even though doctors apply an anaesthetic, the baby might still experience distress afterward.
During the recovery period, the appearance of the penis may be disconcerting for parents. Still, it’s perfectly normal for the circumcision area to exhibit Redness or bruising during the healing process. You may notice:
A small amount of blood on the baby’s diaper in the days following circumcision is average.
Continuous bleeding that doesn’t cease or more than a coin-sized blood patch in the diaper warrants consultation with a medical professional.
Similar to any other skin wound, Redness or swelling around the tip of the penis is expected after circumcision. Over time, the Redness will diminish, and swelling will decrease as the healing progresses.
How Long Does it Take to Recover After Circumcision?
The procedure is simple, and complete recovery will take 7 to 10 days for the baby. But, like most surgical procedures, there is a recovery period. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Doctors typically perform circumcision under general anaesthesia, ensuring infants remain unconscious throughout the procedure. Moments before the procedure, they apply a numbing anaesthetic agent to the penis using either an injection or a topical cream. This temporarily removes the sensation in the area, ensuring the baby experiences no immediate pain during the procedure. However, like any wound, the discomfort resulting from the damage to the skin around the tip of the penis can be distressing for the baby during recovery.
Healthcare providers or nurses will help alleviate the baby’s discomfort or distress, often prescribing infant-formula medications to mitigate pain and other symptoms.
At this stage, it is best to be aware of the best practices for taking care of the circumcision site and promoting healing.
Do’s and Don’ts for Fast Recovery
Following your baby’s circumcision, it is crucial to maintain cleanliness in the area. Gently cleanse it with warm water, avoiding the use of diaper wipes.
If there is a dressing on the surgical site, replace it (with petroleum jelly) each time you change a diaper during the initial day or two. Even after the sauce becomes unnecessary, apply a small amount of petroleum jelly on the penis or the front of the diaper for 3 to 5 days. This helps prevent discomfort for the baby, reducing friction and sticking to the diaper.
Typically, the healing process for the penis takes between 7 to 10 days. After circumcision, the penis tip might look swollen and red with some blood on the diaper. A yellow discharge or crust can appear later, indicating healing.
When to Seek Medical Help?
If you observe any of the following issues, contact circumcision specialists immediately:
- Unstoppable bleeding
- More than a quarter-sized amount of blood on the diaper
- Worsening or persistent Redness after 7 to 10 days
- Signs of infection, such as worsening swelling, foul-smelling discharge, or pus-filled blisters
- Abnormal urination within 12 hours after circumcision
With prompt intervention, doctors can easily treat nearly all circumcision-related problems.