Explained: What Is Circumcision and How Is It Done?

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The term circumcision, is defined as the surgical removal of foreskin, which covers the head of male-penis. It is an ancient practise, which can be traced back in the history. This practise has its origins in many religious and societal rites. Likewise, this procedure can become a painful subject in more than one way, especially if the patient’ concerns aren’t properly addressed. This article, however will be highlighting the common medical techniques being used for this purpose.

Explained: What Is Circumcision and How Is It Done?

Since circumcision is a minor surgery, thus the normal procedure starts with signing a consent form. If you are a parent, then you will be asked to sign this form on behalf of your son unless he is old enough to sign this form for himself. Once the formality of consent form is completed, then babies and young boys are usually given a local anaesthetic instead of a general anaesthetic, as this is considered safer. This takes the form of a gel or injection into the penis. Older boys and adults are usually given a general anaesthetic. Furthermore, circumcision is performed as a ‘day case’, which means that you or your son can return home on the same day. The procedure is quick and takes about 30 minutes on average

Generally, there are two types of circumcision surgical techniques, which are being employed:

  • Plastibell

The beauty of this technique is that it does not require any cutting or surgical insertions. It’s a relatively simple method which employs a small plastic ring, which is fitted around the head/glans of the penis and then tightened. This tight compression results in blocking the blood supply to the foreskin. After a few days, the foreskin naturally dies and falls off with the plastic ring. It’s a long procedure but on the plus side it does not require any insertion or cutting. However, experts remark that this –plastibell- technique is most suited for babies and young boys.

  • Forceps (Traditional)

The use of forceps to remove the foreskin is the traditional and trusty ol’ approach to circumcise a penis. Experts from Circumcision Center remark that this technique is being used as a –pre & post – solution to several medical conditions, like phimosis etc.

Unlike the Plastibell technique, this procedure requires the use of surgical tools. The surgeon uses a pen to mark the area to be treated before an incision is made. The foreskin is pulled back in front of the glans before being cut away with a scalpel. The forceps are used to help guide the scalpel. Blood vessels are sealed using ‘bipolar diathermy’ or electro-cautery.

This clean cut is then closed with stitches or a special type of glue. These will be either the dissolvable or non-dissolvable stitches. If you have non-dissolvable stitches, then you will need to return to the clinic at a pre-arranged date to have them removed.

A paraffin-based surgical dressing is wrapped around the penis. This is designed to prevent your wound from rubbing against your underwear. It also reduces any swelling. Wearing tight briefs will provide extra support.

  • Traditional vs. Plastibell: which is better?

The fact is that both (traditional and plastibell) are two different methods of achieving the same results. However, the similarities between them end right there, where one employs surgical removal, the other does not require any such particular cutting of the skin.

The traditional procedure gives an instant result, but it does involve the patient having stitches and wear a surgical dressing. (But this is a temporary measure and the wound usually heals within a week). And as mentioned earlier this technique is applied to in Adult Male Circumcision surgeries.

The advantage of the plastibell procedure is that the baby can be changed and bathed straight away as there are no stitches or dressing to deal with. However, you generally to have to wait for a few days to see the results of this procedure, which means after the plastic ring has fallen off.

And let’s not forget, no matter how successful their results might be, a medical surgery has a slight chance of complication. So it is better to know how to properly take care of the wound after the surgery to avoid any such problem.

  • Risks and complications

Surgery is safe, but no procedure is 100% risk-free. Complications are rare, but they do happen, and it is as well to be aware of these.

This includes:

  • Too much bleeding or infection in the area
  • An awful lot of skin removal
  • Side effects from medicines or methods being used to achieve the desired results.
  • Damage to the urethra which causes it to narrow and impede the flow of urine.
  • Abnormal scar tissue which may need further surgery to correct.