What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the most common surgery among males. It is the removal of the foreskin (the sheath of tissue covering the head of the penis). In most cases, circumcision is performed on newborns. Circumcision is ancient practice that had its beginnings in religious rites. Today, it is done for both religious and medical reasons.

Who gets a circumcision?

In the United States, five or six of every 10 boys are circumcised. The world’s highest rates for circumcision are in the U.S., the Middle East, and South Korea. Worldwide, about one in three males is circumcised. The surgery is rare in Europe, Asia, and South America. Circumcision is a part of both Jewish and Muslim religious customs. In the Jewish faith, circumcisions are performed on the eighth day of a life.

When are most circumcisions performed?

In general, circumcisions in the U.S. are done a day or two after birth. The longer the procedure is delayed, the more risky it becomes. Even so, circumcisions can be done on older boys and adult males.

Who performs a circumcision?

Depending on when a circumcision is performed, it can be done by an urologist or pediatrician in the hospital in the days right after birth. It also can be done later in a doctor’s office.

Jewish newborns usually are circumcised by a rabbi in a religious ceremony called a bris.

Do healthcare professionals recommend circumcision?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Urological Association (AUA) both believe that circumcising newborns has benefits as well as risks. Both groups suggest that the decision be left to parents. The AAP also recommends the use of pain medicines in babies undergoing circumcision.

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