Circumcision is an operation to remove a male’s foreskin. It is one of the oldest and most common surgical procedures. A male may undergo this procedure for religious, social, medical, or cultural reasons.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage male circumcision on the basis that it appears to reduce the risk of HIV infection during vaginal sex. However, not all health authorities agree, and the recommendations remain somewhat controversial.
Circumcision is fairly common in the United States. In fact, according to the CDC, 58.3% of U.S. newborns underwent circumcision in 2010.
It is less common in other Western countries, however. In the United Kingdom, for example, only around 8.5% of males are circumcised.
This article will discuss what to expect during the procedure itself, as well as some possible benefits and risks.
Circumcision involves the removal of the foreskin of the penis. The foreskin is the shroud of skin that, when gently pulled back, uncovers the head of the penis.
The surgery is relatively simple. A healthcare professional will free the foreskin from the head of the penis and, in newborns, clip it off in a procedure that only takes a few minutes. In adults, they will remove the foreskin with a scalpel, and it takes around 30 minutes.
They will then either cauterize or stitch the wound with dissolvable sutures.
The first circumcisions may have taken place around 15,000 years ago. The procedure then slowly spread across a variety of cultures, especially in the Middle East.
It may have become popular in the ancient world as a public health measure and a way of preventing balanitis. Balanitis leads to swelling and pain in the head of the penis.
This condition might have been more common in ancient societies due to sand building up under the foreskin.