Baby Care After Circumcision
Post Circumcision Concerns and Questions
We understand that parents will sometimes have concerns and questions in the days after a baby boy’s circumcision.
Please see the detail below for information on how to care for your baby post-circumcision, and do not hesitate to contact us with any concerns that you feel require the doctor’s attention.
If you have not already done so, please see our Parent Counselling Video before the procedure.
The video describes how to prepare for the circumcision, what to expect at the clinic, and includes our aftercare instructions.
Our staff is always available to answer your questions.
We will review aftercare instructions with you as well.
In the First 24 hours Following the Circumcision
This image shows initial application of the gauze with Vaseline. Please replace the gauze and Vaseline with every diaper change during the first three days. The image also shows the long gauze around the penis. Please allow the strip of gauze to fall off on its own. Do not remove it. Once if falls off you do not need to replace it.
We offer 24/7 aftercare and support.
General Care in the Weeks Following Circumcision
Frequent Concerns After Baby Circumcision
It is not unusual for your son to sleep 6-8 hours after the procedure and to miss a feeding. Some babies will be irritable for a number of minutes to hours afterwards. Behaviorally, most babies are relatively normal after a day or two.
It is normal to use some force to pull off the gauze bandage. To make this easier, you can soak the gauze with warm water and Vaseline before pulling it off. In the end, you just may have to pull a little more firmly to get it off. Remember the direct pressure method if you observe any bleeding. See detail below.
This is not important. Reapply a square gauze pad with Vaseline and place over the penis per aftercare instructions. Then, just use Vaseline as instructed at the incision site with every diaper change.
Healing Post Circumcision
Healing is usually rapid and occurs in several stages. Remember that a circumcision is like any other cut. There are many factors that influence healing; but most importantly, every child heals differently.
First, the cut edge seals and bleeding ceases within minutes, hours, or even over the course of an entire day. The area just behind the glans (especially the underside) will become swollen. This inflammation will subside within a week or two. In the first two days, there may be an off-white or yellowish, patchy appearance of the glans. These patches are a type of scab and are associated with normal healing.
After a few days, the area where the skin was cut look green and yellow. This is NOT pus. It is healing tissue. It can look this color for up to two weeks after the circumcision.
You will also notice that the glans appears red and glossy sometimes purple. This is because the skin covering the glans of an uncircumcised penis is mucous membrane (like the skin inside your cheek). Once exposed, the mucous membrane will toughen (or keratinize), and, in time, take on a normal appearance. It takes about a month for the penis to take on a normal, healed appearance.
Circumcision Scar? - Appearance of the Baby’s Penis
A common concern for parents is aesthetics. Remember that penises come in all shapes and sizes. While most penises “look normal” within days of the circumcision, some do not take on a “completely normal appearance” until after the penis starts to grow. Furthermore, although the penis may appear smaller after circumcision, it is not! This appearance is mostly due to the relaxation of skin surrounding the penis, which prior to circumcision holds the penis more erect.
After a few days to week, some parents notice swelling of the mucosal tissue behind or under the head of the penis and believe it looks “like a blister”. This type of swelling is normal. It is not a blister, and it will gradually subside. Scarring from infant circumcision is rare, even if there is swelling in the first week.
On occasion, a poor aesthetic result occurs when too little or too much skin is removed, or more likely when the cut edge of the skin attaches too high or too low along the length of the penis. The latter is sometimes caused by the presence of a hydrocele or penile erections. In nearly all these cases, the penis will heal properly, and, in time, take on a normal appearance. If you are concerned in anyway about the appearance of your son’s penis, please call our GTA clinic to consult with the doctor immediately.
The Pollock Technique™ is associated with the optimal cosmetic outcomes. Scarring on the penis is very uncommon, but do share any concerns you have in the weeks after your boy’s procedure.
Frenulum – Band of Skin Underneath the Penis
Sometimes parents come to us worried about a band on the bottom of the penis fearing that it needs to be cut. This band is called the frenulum which carries the frenular artery and is normal (see image). It is similar to the band under the tongue (the part that is cut in some babies with tongue-tie).
You may notice a band on the bottom of the penis after circumcision. This is normal and no reason for concern.
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Post-Circumcisions Issues and Treatments
Circumcision 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. Please see detail below on how to treat bleeding after circumcision.
The frequency of complications after infant circumcision varies with the skill and experience of the physician among other factors.
Even though complications are rare, do not hesitate to consult the doctor at our Toronto clinic if you have any questions about the appearance of the penis. Remember, early treatment (if any is needed) is always best.
Please check your baby’s diaper for any bleeding every hour or so for the first 24 hours after circumcision. If the baby is sleeping, you can just look at the front edges 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 need to remove the gauze to check for active bleeding only if the whole gauze has become soaked with fresh, red blood. You treat active bleeding from the penis the same as you would for the tip of a finger:
- Apply pressure to the penis for 3-5 minutes; no less. Do this by grasping the penis between your thumbs and two fingers using a piece of gauze with some Vaseline to prevent sticking.
- After applying pressure, inspect the area for continued bleeding and repeat step one if necessary.
- Once the bleeding has stopped, apply a fresh gauze square with Vaseline and close the diaper. Recheck the diaper after 10 minutes for any signs of more blood on the gauze.
It is reasonable for you to try the pressure technique twice, for 3-5 minutes at a time, before calling our doctor, 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 we have demonstrated to you, call Gentle Procedures Toronto.
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 our doctor 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 the doctor at our Toronto circumcision clinic immediately.
There will be a long gauze strip (1/2×8 inches) wrapped around your son’s penis. This strip may fall off within the first 24 hours. 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 strip is still in place, it will have to be removed.
To remove the gauze strip:
- Apply Vaseline liberally and completely over the stuck surface.
- Close the diaper and allow 10-15 minutes for the bandage to soften.
- Gently peel away surfaces that are no longer stuck. Repeat the process as necessary. It is okay to do this a little at a time over the course of the day – it always comes off.