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5 common questions after newborn circumcision
In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks after a comprehensive review of scientific data. However, the potential health benefits (reduced risk of early urinary tract infections within first year of life, possible reduced risk of some sexually transmitted infections) aren’t great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision when compared to possible risks including pain, bleeding, scarring and poor cosmetic outcome.
In their statement, the AAP confirms the final decision regarding newborn male circumcisions should still be left to parents to make in the context of their religious, ethical and cultural beliefs.
If you’re interested in having your child circumcised, consider bringing him to Texas Children’s Hospital. Our team of advanced practice providers (APPs) from Texas Children’s Urology host a well-established clinic each Wednesday at our campus in the Texas Medical Center and most Wednesdays at Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands.
Give us a call as early as possible to schedule an evaluation and procedure, which is typically performed by general pediatric surgeons or pediatric urologists and their APPs. In most cases, this procedure needs to take place during the newborn’s first month of life while he is less than 10 pounds.
See below for some of the most commonly asked questions and expressed concerns from parents regarding post-circumcision care.
He’s fussy after the circumcision – is this normal?
Yes. It’s normal for the newborn to cry, especially in the first 24 hours after the procedure. This is a big day for him. Some babies might have a change in feeding and/or sleeping patterns, while others may just be overall fussier. This is OK.
You can give him infant over-the-counter acetaminophen (TYLENOL®) every four to six hours as needed for pain. In our clinic, you’ll be given instruction on how much medication to administer.
When can I start bathing him again?
During the first 48 hours after the procedure, sponge bathing is recommended. Then, you can resume bathing your newborn in a tub of warm water.
If his stool gets on the incision, pour warm and soapy water over it and pat dry. Please avoid scrubbing the incision site.
I can see something red in his diaper. Should I be worried?
It’s normal to see a few drops of blood in the diaper for the first three days. If you see active bleeding, or more than a teaspoon of blood in the diaper, please call our urology team.
When will it look normal?
It could take a few weeks to heal completely. Bruising at the base of the penis and scrotum is not unusual and should disappear shortly. His penis will have several areas of green/yellow scabbing, which is a normal sign of healing.
We recommend using petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or antibiotic cream (Neosporin, Bacitracin) around the incision after the first 24 hours, and on the top of the penis to help with sensitivity and healing.
When should I be concerned?
If you see any of the following signs, seek medical help:
- Active or excessive bleeding, or oozing of blood
- Extreme redness, or swelling of the penis and/or scrotum
- Over 101 degrees Fahrenheit (oral, under arm, forehead)
- Over 102 degrees Fahrenheit (rectal)
If you have any further questions or concern, call our urology nurse (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) at 832-822-3164. In case of emergency, or after hours, call 832-822-3160 to reach the provider on-call.