Male Circumcision: Meaning, Problems, and Healing


In this article we will look at:

You can click on any of the links above to navigate to the section of your interest.

What is circumcision? Why is circumcision performed?

Circumcision means the procedure of surgical removal of the foreskin that covers the head of the penis. If done for a newborn, the procedure takes about five to 20 minutes. Circumcision for an adult takes about one hour. The wound healing from the circumcision surgery generally occurs in five to seven days.

This procedure is a religious as well as a cultural ritual for the followers of the Jewish religion as well as Islam. Certain aboriginal tribes in Africa and Australia too practice this ritual. Nowadays though, people irrespective of religion and tribe may opt for this procedure as a matter of personal hygiene or preventive health care. 

In certain parts of Africa, circumcision is recommended for older boys or men to reduce the risk of certain sexually transmitted infections.

Circumcision is a topic of debate among many experts with some claiming there health benefits to this procedure and others saying that there are more risks than benefits. 

Regardless, the practice of circumcision continues. 

Isn't circumcision just a little snip? 

It is not a simple snip. 

The circumcision procedure usually involves the following steps:

  1. At the outset, the doctor administers topical anesthesia.
  2. Once the anesthesia takes effect the doctor separates the foreskin from the head of the penis also called glans to fully expose the coronal groove (the ridge that defines the glans of the penis). This step is only performed on young boys, whose glans and foreskin have not fully separated.
  3. He removes any smegma (white pasty substance made up of dead cells, which holds the foreskin and glans together).
  4. Following this, the doctor replaces the foreskin in its normal position (i.e. covering the glans).
  5. The doctor then makes a cut in the foreskin on the upper side of the penis using scissors.
  6. He makes a second slit is made on the underside of the penis.
  7. He cuts away the foreskin around the rim of the coronal groove.
  8. He then pulls back the edges of the foreskin.
  9. Using absorbable stitches, the doctor ties the blood vessels.
  10. Finally, he stitches the edges of the foreskin.

What are the complications that may arise after circumcision? 

Some complications of circumcision include: 

  • the risk of infection (especially for a child)
  • the risk of hemorrhage (especially for a child)
  • buried penis (entrapment of the penis by scar tissue)
  • blocked urinary flow
  • chafing and abrasion of the exposed glans against clothing
  • scarring
  • desensitization that can severely reduce the enjoyment of sexual activity (for an adult male). In fact, it has been observed that men who have undergone circumcision as an adult often experience less pleasure while having sex compared to the sexual experience before the circumcision
  • abrasion of the exposed glans against clothing
  • painful erections due to the tightened skin (for an adult male)

What are the benefits of circumcision? 

Circumcision might have various health benefits, including:

  • makes genital hygiene easier
  • decreases the risk of urinary tract infections in infancy
  • decreases the risk of penile cancer
  • decreases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including female-to-male transmission of HIV
  • decreases the risk of cervical cancer and some infections in female partners
  • prevents penile problems such as balanitis, phimosis, and paraphimosis

Is there an age limit for undergoing circumcision? 

Men can be circumcised at any age. Children too can be circumcised at any age.

What is the recovery time for adults after circumcision?

It will take a week or up to 10 days. It is generally suggested that the patient undertakes moderate activity following circumcision for a week and avoid any form of strenuous activity. 

What is the recovery time for an infant after circumcision? 

Every child heals differently; it can take up to a month for the penis to appear fully healed.

What to expect as your child heals after a circumcision? 

Once your child is circumcised, the surgeon dresses the area. The dressing is usually lubricated to prevent it from sticking to the glans. The gauze usually falls off on its own within 24 hours.

Over the following days, your child will heal from the surgery in stages. It can take upto a month for the penis to heal completely. Within a day of the surgery, the bleeding stops. You may notice a colour change in the glans after the surgery since the glans is now exposed. It may appear to be darker. If there is any swelling of the penis it usually disappears within a week. The penis may also appear to be of a smaller size after the circumcision because the skin surrounding the penis is relaxed while before the circumcision the foreskin held the penis more erect. 

As an adult what care should you take after undergoing a circumcision? 

After undergoing circumcision as an adult there are a few guidelines you need to follow: 

  • Take your medicines on time including your antibiotics and pain medicines as directed by the doctor.
  • During the first week or for at least 10 days after the surgery do not perform any strenuous activity.
  • The doctor may advise you to avoid shower for a day or two. Though the directions may vary from doctor to doctor. Please follow your doctor’s advice on the matter. Do not take a tub bath till the doctor okays it. Once you are allowed to take a shower carefully wash the incisions with soap and water everyday.
  • Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes such as briefs or tight shorts for a few days.
  • You may have to wait upto six weeks to have sex or masturbate after the surgery. You may face slight discomfort while having sex for the first time after the surgery.
Would you like to consult a doctor for Male Circumcision ?

Patient Experiences

Underwent Circumcision
Dr Ragavan is very good in his approach to his patients . Does a thorough examination and suggests good treatment options . After discussing with him I underwent circumcision at his clinic . Results are very good and I am feeling much better now . I am thankful to him ....Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. N Ragavan
The Chennai Speciality Klinic
Sridhar Reddy
Circumcision Surgery
I visited the doctor for a circumcision surgery. The doctor was very helpful and the surgery was done without any issues. I would recommend the doctor. ...Read Less
Doctor in this story :Dr. Sanjay Paruchuri
Narayana Hrudhayalaya Multispeciality Hospital

Questions answered by trusted doctors

Verified User
Dear Sir i have eczema problem on my face, knees and backside and Thais.................................................................
Dr. Shaurya Rohatgi
Dermatologist, Mumbai
Eczema has to be treated in the acute stage and later some precautions can help minimise the recurrences. Do not use soap over the affected areas. Please contact me through online consult option with photos or visit me at my clinic  for accurate diagnosis and treatment. The distribution of your rashes may point in direction of atopic eczema.
Verified User
Could you please help me to understand, circumcision is good at the age of 28? Is there any size effect of circumcision? What are the pros of it? Please help. Thank you in advance.
Dr. Amitava Chakraborty
General Surgeon, Kolkata
Circumcision should only be done if there is a problem, age is not to be considered. If done properly and when indicated then there shouldn't be any complication.
Dr. Harisha N L
General Physician, Bangalore
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin (prepuce) from the human penis...Circumcision is a low risk procedure that can be done under local has no major adverse effects and usual recovery time is 4 to 5 days...and the cost depends upon hospitals and doctors charges but it's not expensive its affordable...
Ask health queries and get free answers from doctors in 24 hrs

Did you know?

Circumcision widely practiced by followers of Islam

Circumcision is common among the followers of Islam in India. It is not widely practiced by men of other religions.

HIV rates higher among uncircumcised vs circumcised people

HIV rates among those not circumcised are two to eight times higher than in those groups which practice circumcision.

Related videos

Related articles

Male Dyspareunia - Meaning, Causes, and Treatment

Male dyspareunia or dyspareunia in men is a recurrent or continuous pain in the genital or pelvic region which occurs during or after sexual activity and is present for three months or longer.

Nausea: Causes, and Remedies

Nausea is the uneasiness one feels in the stomach, just before one feels the urge to vomit. Find out about nausea medicine, symptoms, remedies. Get information, videos and facts about nausea on Health-Wiki | Practo

Male Masturbation: Side Effects, Benefits, and Risks

47% men in India masturbate on a regular basis to feel good and pleasure themselves. Know more about Male Masturbation, its effects, complications, treatment and other useful facts and links and videos on Health-Wiki | Practo

Book an appointment with an Urologist