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Reproductive and Child Health

After a Circumcision

Circumcision is a surgical procedure which involves removal of the skin and tissue (foreskin) that normally cover the glans (head) of the penis. It is an elective procedure often performed by a doctor in the first few days after delivery.

Circumcision is a personal parental choice.

After a Circumcision
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Circumcision is not covered by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP). If parents choose to have their infant circumcised, they must pay a fee to the doctor performing the procedure (and the hospital, if applicable).

The Healing Process:

Normal healing usually occurs within 7-10 days (if a PlastiBell (plastic ring) was used it should fall off during this time). Although this is the usual healing process, always follow instructions and recommendations provided by the doctor and/or hospital.

During the healing period, the end of the penis which is normally dark red becomes covered with yellow discharge fluid. This happens within the first 24 hours and it should not be foul-smelling. It is a normal part of healing and may persist for 2-3 days. Do not attempt to remove the yellow discharge.

General Care After a Circumcision:

  • After a circumcision you are encouraged to comfort your baby by holding and nursing him often.
  • You should discuss the need for pain medication with your doctor.
  • Always wash your hands before touching the newly circumcised penis.
  • Check for bleeding every hour for the first 12 hours (or as instructed by your doctor).
  • If bleeding occurs, apply gentle pressure to the circumcision site and notify your doctor immediately.
  • Ensure that your baby has urinated within 6-8 hours of the circumcision, and that he is continuing to urinate regularly.
  • Change your baby's diaper at least every 4 hours, and apply a large amount of Vaseline to the tip of the penis and diaper to avoid sticking.
  • If the diaper is sticking to the circumcised area do not pull it off, but instead soak it off with warm water.
  • When washing the penis use warm water, and do not use soap until the circumcision has completely healed.
  • Avoid pressure on the circumcised penis when diapering.
  • Pre-packaged wipes should not be used until the circumcision has healed completely. They may contain alcohol which delays healing and causes discomfort.
  • Remember to be very gentle as the area will be sensitive.

  Call your doctor if:

  • Bleeding at the circumcision site will not stop despite applying pressure.
  • There are signs of infection such as redness or foul-smelling discharge.
  • There is swelling around the circumcision site that does not go down within 48 hours of the circumcision.
  • Your baby has had less than 6 wet diapers in a 24 hour period.
  • Your baby has a fever higher than 38°C (100.4°F).

For more information call Durham Health Connection Line
905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729