Male circumcision is one of the most common surgical procedures performed after birth but what effect does it have on your son? Do you know what kind of anesthetic will be used during this procedure? Male circumcision is a surgery performed on a very sensitive part of the body. Before you make the decision to circumcise, consider the facts!
Circumcision is the surgical removal of excess skin from the penis, the procedure is optional. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the benefits of circumcision are not strong enough to recommend routine circumcision for all male newborns. The procedure should involve a local anesthetic but some doctors use sucrose (a sugar mixture) as a form of pain prevention. Sucrose may be a suitable form of pain prevention for blood draws and injections but it should never be used during a major procedure! As parents we assume that our children will receive an anesthetic, so we never ask the question. Our sons come back to us wrapped snug and sleeping. Since newborns aren’t able to talk, no one knows they felt that horrible pain.
Experiencing this kind of pain can have lasting effects on your child. Males circumcised without pain prevention may have more pain and fear with each childhood vaccination. These children may also have decreased sensitivity to pain in later years according to research published by the University of Michigan Health Systems. Unfortunately, my son received sucrose for pain prevention during his circumcision. I was not aware of the facts and ignorantly assumed he would receive a local anesthetic. When he received his first set of vaccinations, it was very traumatic for him. The recovery period took a lot longer than usual. I should have taken the time to educate myself on the procedure before agreeing to it. Don’t make the same mistake!
You should not feel pressured to circumcise your son, it is your choice. An uncircumcised male does not have a greater risk of infection or disease. Proper hygiene coupled with safe sex practices greatly reduces the possibility of illness. If you choose to circumcise your son for religious reasons, ask questions. There are several different anesthetic options available: EMLA cream is a Lidocaine/Prilocaine combo used as a topical anesthetic, the Dorsal Penile Nerve Block (DPNB) and the Ring Block are options as well. There are risks associated with the use of these anesthetics and none of them guarantee 100% pain relief. Talk with your doctor about your options and the associated risks. Gather the facts and make an educated decision when you’re comfortable. Remember, circumcision is a surgery. You wouldn’t have a part of your body surgically removed without properly researching the procedure.
Kyla Boyse, R.N., Pain and Your Infant, www.med.umich.edu
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Male Circumcision, www.mayoclinic.com