Care of the Circumcised Penis
Newborn circumcision (removal of the skin, which covers the head of the penis) is performed for religious, social and cultural reasons. There is no absolute medical indication for this procedure. If you choose to have your baby circumcised, you may wish to hold and comfort him immediately after the procedure.
After circumcision, your baby may be fussy and you may want to hold and comfort him. Breastfeeding may also comfort your son, although he may not be interested in eating right away. The end of his penis will appear red after the procedure; later, a yellowish crust may appear around the head of the penis. This is normal and not a sign of infection.
Signs of infection to be reported to the baby's health care provider include redness, swelling and white, yellowish (pus-like) or greenish drainage with a foul odor.
Once the circumcised penis heals, normal washing is sufficient.
Care of the Circumcision
The two most common methods for circumcision are:
- The Gomco (or Sheldon Clamp) and
- The Plastibell
The Gomco (or Sheldon Clamp) Circumcision
- A petroleum jelly gauze dressing is placed on the penis after the circumcision. Keep this dressing in place until it falls off, usually after two or more diaper changes.
- After removing the petroleum jelly dressing, apply a small amount of petroleum jelly to a 4x4 gauze pad and place over the circumcision with each diaper change for the next 1-2 days. This will prevent the diaper from sticking to the healing skin.
- During diaper changes, gently wash around the penis with a clean, warm, wet cloth to remove stool or urine and pat dry - avoid rubbing. It is normal for the first few diaper changes to show some spotting of blood.
- Secure the baby's diaper loosely for several days to prevent uncomfortable pressure on the circumcision.
- A plastic rim is left on the baby's penis after the circumcision. The plastic rim usually drops off 5-8 days later. Call your baby's health care provider if the rim has not dropped off 8 days after the circumcision or if the rim has slipped down the shaft of the penis.
- No special dressing is necessary. Do not use petroleum jelly.
- Check the circumcision for swelling.
- A dark brown or black ring encircling the plastic rim is normal and will disappear after the rim drops off.
- You may bathe and diaper your baby normally, but do not rub or scrub the circumcised area.
For circumcisions with suture, sutures are self-dissolving and there is no need to remove them.
Notify your pediatrician if...
- the baby does not void within 24 hours of the circumcision
- the area becomes red or swollen
- the circumcision starts to bleed
- there is foul-smelling discharge
- if your baby does not urinate regularly (at least 6 wet diapers per 24 hour period)
Deciding on Circumcision
Care of the Uncircumcised Penis