Infant circumcision, and circumcision in general, is associated with few and infrequent complications, although with any surgical procedure there are occasional problems. For example, bleeding. In almost all cases bleeding is controlled by direct pressure.
Even though complications are rare, do not hesitate to consult with the Circumcision Montreal clinic if you have any questions about the appearance of the penis. Remember, early treatment (if any is needed) is always best. Our team is there for you before and after your son’s circumcision.
Most Common Concerns and Complications Post-Circumcision
The items listed below are the most common reasons for parental concern after a baby circumcision. Please do not hesitate to call the clinic with your specific concerns as needed.
Please check your baby’s diaper for any bleeding every 1-3 hours for the first 36 hours after circumcision. If the baby is sleeping, you can just look at the front of the diaper from the outside. If it is not discolored, he is likely not bleeding abnormally. When you open the diaper, it is normal for the covering gauze to be a little red from bleeding.
You treat bleeding from the penis the same as you would for the tip of a finger:
1) Apply pressure to the penis for 2-3 minutes; no less. Do this by grasping the penis between your thumb and two fingers (over the 3×3-inch gauze square).
2) Without removing the 3×3-inch gauze square, inspect the area for continued bleeding and repeat step one if necessary.
3) Leave the 3×3-inch gauze square in place and close the diaper as removing it may lead to renewed bleeding.
It is reasonable for you to try the pressure technique twice, for 2-3 minutes at a time, before calling the clinic for support as most bleeding will stop with this.
If the penis is dripping any blood, and you cannot stop the bleeding with the pressure technique that our staff has demonstrated to you, call us immediately.
Concealed or Retracted Penis
When the length of the penile shaft is no greater than its diameter or when there is a good amount of pubic fat, the penis will tend to retract inward. This is normal. This characteristic is only a concern for the first month or two since the healing circumcision can adhere to the surrounding skin resulting in a concealed penis.
If your son fits this profile, you can reduce the chance of concealed penis by applying a very thin layer of Vaseline to the entire glans, once a day, until the glans takes on a healed appearance (about 1-2 months). To expose a glans that has retracted inward, place gentle downward pressure on either side of the base of the penis.
Consult us if the penis cannot be fully exposed, or if any connecting skin bridges form between the shaft skin and the head of the penis.
Although rare, there have been reported cases of infection. Common signs of infection include: a pus like discharge, a foul smell, excessive swelling or redness, local warmth, a fever, or a rash anywhere in the area of the penis. With any of these signs, or if your son has not urinated in over 12 hours, consult us immediately.
Benefits of the Pollock Technique infant circumcision
The circucision method employed at the Circumcision Montreal Clinic minimizes the risk of post circumcision infection. There is always a small risk but all possible steps are taken to reduce the chance of a problem after the surgery.
All instruments and items that might come into contact with the patient are sterile.
Standard procedures are rigorously followed.
All staff have patient safety as the number one priority.
There will be a long gauze bandage (1/2×8 inches) wrapped around your sons penis. This bandage should fall off within the first 24 hours (when it does, do not attempt to replace it). If it falls off early, do not worry, this is normal, just leave it off. You can place the small gauze given to you at our office (with some Vaseline on it) on the penis for the remainder of the 24 hour period. If after 24 hours the gauze bandage is still in place, it will have to be removed.
To remove the gauze bandage:
1) Apply Vaseline liberally and completely over the stuck surface.
2) Close the diaper and allow 10-15 minutes for the bandage to soften.
3) Gently peel away surfaces that are no longer stuck. Repeat the process as necessary.
4) If the bandage won’t come off, call our office to book an appointment ASAP so Dr. Pollock can remove it for you.
Key Points in Post-Circumcision Care
If your child has any medical problems or significant jaundice, discuss this with the clinic before giving him more Tylenol.
If you want, you can sponge bathe your baby following the circumcision, but do not totally submerse him in water for four days after his surgery.
If you have any other comments or questions, do not hesitate to call us. In case of an emergency, call us anytime.
Frequency of complications at the Circumcision Montreal Clinic
The frequency of complications after circumcision varies with the skill and experience of the physician amongst other factors. Post-circumcision complications are not common at Circumcision Montreal. Approximate complications rates include:
1) Significant post-operation bleeding requiring medical attention of any kind 1/400
2) Phimosis or narrowing of the shaft skin opening over the head of the penis requiring medical intervention 1/500
3) Buried or trapped penis i.e. Penis gets partially buried in the abdomen and requires medical intervention 1/800
4) Infection requiring antibiotics 1/1000
5) Meatal Stenosis – Narrowing of the urethra requiring medical intervention 1/1000
6) Skin Bridge (requiring surgical correction) – 1/1000 will have a skin bridge (fine bridge of skin that has grown to connect the shaft skin to the head of the penis) that requires surgical correction. Experienced circumcision physicians will often be able to assess and correct any formation of skin bridges on the follow up visit after circumcision and at that time they are extremely simple to separate with a simple easing back of the skin.
7) Suboptimal cosmetic result 1/500
8) Trauma to the head of the penis (Has never occurred in our practice).
9) Pain and and tightness along the healed incision line with erection and/or during sex – among men circumcised as teens or adults 1/500
10) More serious complications including death (Has never occurred in our practice).