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Circumcision information for families

What is a circumcision?

The penis is shaped like a tube with a rounded end called the glans. The skin that covers the glans is called the foreskin. During circumcision the foreskin is removed from the penis.

circumcised & uncircumcised penis

Image reproduced with permission ©The Hospital for Sick Children - aboutkidshealth.ca

Please note: There is not enough data to recommend routine circumcision for all newborn boys. Parents should decide what is best for their baby.

Are there benefits to circumcision?

Some possible health benefits are:

  • To prevent the need for circumcision later in life. Ten out of every 1,000 uncircumcised boys will need a circumcision later in life due to a condition that can scar and narrow the foreskin.
  • Fewer urinary tract infections (UTI). Studies have shown that 1 in 3 uncircumcised males are likely to experience a UTI over their lifetime, as compared to 1 in 12 circumcised males.
  • To lower the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • To decrease the risk of cancer of the penis. Circumcision can slightly reduce the risk of getting this type of cancer, which occurs much later in life and is very rare. Female partners of circumcised men have less chance of getting cervical cancer.

Please note: Pain relief is widely used for this procedure. Please ask your health care provider about the type of pain medication your son will get.

Are there risks to circumcision?

All surgeries have some risks. The risks of circumcision are:

  • A narrowing of the opening at the end of the penis is the most common risk.
  • Mild bleeding which can be stopped by applying pressure to the area.
  • Severe bleeding that will require stitches.
  • If the bleeding is extreme, a blood transfusion may be needed. This is very rare.
  • Infection is very rare and usually stays within the circumcision site.
  • An infection with a fever is rare, but if this happens your baby might need antibiotics.

Where can I get my son circumcised?

Ask your health care provider or contact one of the following clinics:

Women’s College Hospital
77 Grenville St., 3rd floor
Toronto, ON
Tel: 416-323-6060
(press 1 then press 4)

SickKids Circumcision Clinic
555 University Ave, the Atrium, 5th floor unit D
Toronto, ON
Tel: 416-813-8286
www.sickkids.ca/circclinic