Circumcision in adults is normally recommended as treatment for a number of conditions, including recurrent balanitis (inflammation of the foreskin and head of penis), phimosis (a tight foreskin which can’t be fully pulled back), paraphimosis (where the foreskin can’t return to its original position after being pulled back), balanitis xerotica obliterans (a condition that can cause a tight foreskin) or cancer of the penis (which is very rare).
Circumcision, which involves surgically removing the foreskin, is normally only recommended after other less invasive treatments have been tried.
Circumcision is usually performed as day surgery so you’ll be able to return home on the same day, but you may not be able to drive yourself. The operation may be carried out under a local anaesthetic, so you won’t be able to feel anything below your waist, or under a general anaesthetic so you’ll be asleep during surgery.
Circumcision is a relatively quick and simple procedure; the foreskin is removed using surgical scissors or a scalpel. Any bleeding is stopped by cauterising (applying heat) and the incision is either clamped or stitched using dissolvable sutures.
We’ll discuss your aftercare and any follow-up appointments with you before you leave hospital. For a few days after the operation you’ll probably experience swelling and discomfort which we’ll help you manage with painkillers.
It’s likely you’ll need to take around a week off work to recover, depending on your occupation, and the wound itself will take around seven to ten days to heal. You ought to avoid having sex for up to four weeks after the operation.
It’s very rare to experience complications, but any surgery carries a small risk of bleeding or infection.
Specific risks of circumcision include:
- reduced sensation in the head of the penis
- scar tenderness
- rarely, a further operation to remove more skin