Complications and Side-effects of Circumcision Surgery

representation of circumcision procedure

The procedure wherein the skin covering the tip of the penis is removed via surgery is referred to as circumcision. Even though this procedure is generally performed in newborn babies, it is sometimes done in adults, too, but with certain complications. This procedure also has some regional and religious bearing as people from certain ethnicities and cultures mandatorily get their male babies circumcised. There are also instances where circumcision is carried out because of a medical need.

What Are The Complications of Circumcision Surgery?

No procedure can ever guarantee zero complications. Let us discuss the various complications associated with the circumcision procedure:

  1. Bleeding: Obviously, a loss of a few drops is common in neonatal circumcision, which can be stopped by applying pressure on the site, but blood loss beyond that is concerning. Since the urethra is in close proximity to the ventral penile surface, that area should be cautiously sutured; otherwise, there are high chances of necrosis of the fragile tissue. This creates urethrocutaneous fistula.
  2. Infection: Newborns are at a high risk of infections because their immune systems aren’t as developed. Even though it is rare, infections like sepsis, fascitis, necrotizing, and meningitis can occur in newborn babies and prove to be fatal. It should also be noted that the yellowish scab-like deposits around the sutured area are a part of the natural healing process and not an infection.
  3. Insufficient foreskin removal: The procedure of circumcision removes the foreskin to expose the glans, but insufficient removal can cause problems. The leftover foreskin slides back over the glans and scars it. In such cases, it becomes necessary to remove this insufficient skin.
  4. Excessive foreskin removal: Too much foreskin removal can lead to an unsatisfactory appearance. The skin grows naturally, so it is not really a complication.
  5. Skin bridges: The area of the foreskin that is stuck to the glans is referred to as adhesion. These adhesions generally separate within 3 years of the birth of the boy, but during circumcision, it is important to lyse the area for a complete removal of the foreskin. Non-removal can lead to an asymmetric appearance and cause problems with hygiene.
  6. Abnormal healing: Just like any normal wound, abnormal healing is also a complication of the circumcision procedure. Granulomas may occur along the cut age and may lead to keloid formation.
  7. Cysts: Inclusion cysts, asymptomatic or infected, can also occur along the cut edge. These cysts are either from smegma that gets accumulated in the incision or from the epidermis that rolls in at the time of circumcision. Acute infections need to be surgically removed.
  8. Meatitis: Reddening and inflammation of the urethral opening are called meatitis. It is a self-curable condition and can be prevented by applying petroleum jelly or antibiotic ointment.
  9. Meatal stenosis: The narrowing of the urethral opening is called meatal stenosis, and it does not require an external treatment. In severe cases, it can cause an increase in urinary frequency, dysuria, dribbling of urine, etc.
  10. Phimosis: Circumcision can be the cause of a condition where the foreskin does not get retracted. This is known as phimosis.
  11. Chordee: The ventral curvature of the penis is called chordee, and when not present at the time of birth, it can occur as a complication of circumcision because of insufficient or excessive removal of the foreskin.
  12. Amputation of the glans: One of the rarest complications of circumcision, amputation of the glans can occur when the clamp is not placed properly.
  13. Death: Death is also one of the rarest complications of circumcision, but it has been reported, nevertheless.

What Are the Side Effects of Circumcision?

The side effects of circumcision include pain, fever, reaction to anesthesia, injury to the tip of the penis, swelling, irritation on the tip of the penis, and other procedures that are general to any surgical procedure.

How Do You Manage the Side Effects of Circumcision?

Certain side effects of circumcision, like pain, swelling, and fever, are managed naturally in the course of a week. For severe side effects or when these side effects are not healed naturally, medical help must be required.

What is the Post-operative Care for Quick Recovery After Circumcision?

Like any medical procedure, there are certain steps that need to be followed post-surgery during the circumcision recovery time to ensure proper healing. Circumcision generally heals within 7 to 10 days. The most important thing to do after the procedure is to ensure that the penis is clean at all times. It should be washed with water at least once, and after allowing it to dry, petroleum jelly must be applied to reduce the chances of infection and treat irritation.

Apart from this, a doctor should be consulted if the following things occur:

  • There is heavy bleeding in the wound - A few drops of blood loss is normal, but if there is some heavy bleeding or if the bleeding does not stop, then the newborn baby must be taken to the doctor.
  • No urination after 6 to 8 hours of the procedure - There is a risk involved when the baby doesn’t urinate even after 8 hours of the surgery. It usually happens when there is some suture gone wrong, and it is not self-healing and needs medical attention.
  • The inflammation doesn’t reduce in 3 days - Swelling and redness generally are healed in 3 days, and anything beyond that is abnormal.
  • There is a yellow coating or discharge in the penis - These scab-like formations on the tip of the penis aren’t usually due to infection, but care must be taken, nevertheless.
  • Fever goes beyond 100 degrees - A fever after any surgery is normal, but if the temperature goes beyond 100 degrees, then immediate medical help must be taken.