Circumcision is a common surgical procedure to remove the penile foreskin. The main reasons why men decide to have a circumcision are:
- Hygiene it is definitely easier to maintain hygiene in a circumcised penis.
- Cosmetic some men prefer the appearance of a circumcised penis.
- Irritation or infection uncircumcised men sometimes develop discomfort under their foreskin which can vary from mild “itchiness” to more severe inflammation or infection, called balanitis.
- Phimosis this occurs when the very tip of the foreskin becomes tighter or narrower and this leads to difficulty or pain in retracting, or pulling back, the foreskin. It also prevents good penile hygiene, and can increase the risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases or developing penile cancer.
Phimosis is the commonest reason adult men choose to have a circumcision, and can be either:
- Congenital the foreskin has never been retractable, usually in older boys or young men in their twenties. Often there is also a short or tight ‘penile frenulum’ present. This is the thin band of skin attaching the foreskin to the underside of the penile head, or ‘glans penis’
- Acquired the foreskin was previously retractable, but then becomes tight and difficult to retract. This condition can occur in men of all ages, and is usually due to a chronic inflammation or irritation of the foreskin. It is more common in diabetic males.
Some males may just have mild phimosis where the foreskin is still retractable but is tighter when the penis is erect. However, others may develop a very tight foreskin where the opening is so narrow that it may restrict urine flow, or the foreskin “balloons” when passing urine, and can result in dribbling on underwear.
Topical ointments or creams may sometimes help to limit the progression of congenital phimosis, but they don’t cure the condition completely, and often the phimosis worsens when topical treatment is ceased.
Circumcision is by far the most effective and permanent way to treat phimosis. It is a very safe and successful procedure (when performed by a specialist surgeon) and there are NO expected side-effects.
Dr Patel is highly experienced in performing circumcision in adult males. Although it is not considered ‘major’ surgery, expert and meticulous technique is required to achieve optimal functional and cosmetic outcomes, and to minimise any complications. The operation is performed as day surgery, under a full general anaesthetic, with local anaesthetic injected as well, to minimise post-operative pain. While a Google search may mention many different variations in how the surgery is performed, the most precise and clinically proven technique is called the “sleeve procedure”, and this is the way Dr Patel performs the operation to achieve consistently excellent results.
Contrary to what many may think, post-operative pain is relatively mild and can usually be controlled by simple analgesia like Panadol or Nurofen. You can get back to most of your normal activities, including exercise and strenuous work, within a few days of surgery, and most men can resume sexual activity within 3-4 weeks. Complications are very rare.
Having a circumcision DOES NOT significantly reduce penile sensation or prevent sexual pleasure. In fact, many men who have a circumcision for phimosis will feel more confident having sexual intercourse because their discomfort is gone and their penis looks more normal.