Circumcision removes the foreskin covering the glans (head) of the penis. Usually, babies undergo circumcision shortly after birth. Circumcision began as a religious rite. Today, people get circumcised for religious, medical and cultural reasons.
Many baby boys get circumcised, usually within the first week of life. Adults can get circumcised as well, though it’s less common.
What is the foreskin?
The foreskin is a piece of skin that covers the round tip of the penis. When a baby is born, the foreskin is completely attached to the penis. Over time, the foreskin separates from the head of the penis and is able to be retracted, or pulled back. Sometimes, the foreskin doesn’t separate when it should and remains tight, a condition called Phimosis. Usually phimosis requires further intervention or circumcision to correct it.
How common is circumcision?
Circumcision is the most common surgery among males. In the United States, up to 60% of baby boys are circumcised. Around the world, the rate is about 33% of males. The highest rates of circumcision are in the U.S., Middle East and South Korea. It’s much less common in Europe, other parts of Asia and South America. Jewish and Muslim people perform circumcision as part of their religions.
When are most circumcisions performed?
Typically, circumcisions happen a day or two after birth, in the hospital. It’s best to do it as soon as possible. Delaying the procedure can make it riskier.
Other cultures perform circumcision at a later age.
Who performs circumcision?
A urologist can do the circumcision on the newborn in the hospital. A healthcare provider can also perform it later, in the office.