Male Circumcision

Male Circumcision

What is Male Circumcision?

Male circumcision involves the surgical removal of the skin that covers the tip of the penis. This procedure is fairly common in Singapore and over 14.9% of Singapore’s population has undergone the procedure.

Why is Male Circumcision done?

Sometimes, male circumcision is done as a religious practice or as a medical need when the foreskin is too tight to be pulled back over the glans (phimosis). 

Phimosis is generally a non-issue unless one suffers from symptoms such as:

  • Pain during urination
  • Painful erections
  • Frequent urinary tract infections (UTI)
  • Bleeding or thick discharge
  • An unpleasant smell
  • Swelling 
  • Tenderness

If you or your child experiences any of these symptoms, please visit a doctor immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Other benefits of male circumcision include:

  • Better hygiene   It is easier to wash the penis.
  • Lower risk of urinary tract infections (UTI) and sexually transmitted diseases (STD) Circumcised males are less likely to get UTIs and STDs.
  • Lower risk of penile cancer Statistically, penile cancer is less common in circumcised men. Female sexual partners of circumcised men are also less likely to get cervical cancer. 

Is a Male Circumcision painful?

You will be put under general anaesthesia (GA) to ensure a comfortable experience. You may experience some post-operative pain, but this can be treated with painkillers.

At what age do men get Circumcised?

Generally, circumcisions are done a day or two after the child’s birth as there are lower chances of complications and less downtime. However, male circumcision can be done at any age.

Are there any side effects to Male Circumcision?

Side effects are very rare. It is, however, important to let it heal properly and prevent infection. 

Contrary to popular belief, male circumcision will not affect the growth of the penis or the rest of the genitalia, and it will not enhance or detract from sexual pleasure for men or their partners.

How do I prepare for a Circumcision procedure?

You can prepare for a circumcision procedure by doing the following:

  • You could prepare by shaving or trimming your public hair a few days before the procedure to reduce the chances of infection. 
  • Come in comfortable clothes and try not to wear tight-fitting pants on the day of and two weeks after the procedure.

Possible complications

  • Bleeding 
  • Wound infection
  • Wound dehiscence (for younger males, sometimes even erections can separate the wound)
  • Cosmesis (some patients may not like the look of the penis after the surgery)
  • Very rarely, ischemia of the tip of the penis
  •  

What to expect during a Circumcision procedure

Adult circumcision

For adult male circumcision, the procedure is generally done under general or local anaesthesia and will have more risk of complications and will take longer to heal when compared to a child. The procedure will last anywhere between 30 minutes to an hour. 

  1. You will be given general or local anaesthesia to ensure your comfort throughout the procedure.
  2. The doctor will make measurements of how much skin to remove before it is cut away with a scalpel.
  3. Either absorbable sutures or surgical glue will be used, and there will be no need to remove these after surgery.

 

Post-procedure recovery

It usually takes about ten to fourteen days for your penis to heal after a circumcision procedure. 

  • Will urination be painful after the procedure?

You may experience minor bleeding from the incision within the first day or two of the procedure. However, urination will not be painful.

  • Can I wear pants or jeans after the procedure?

We recommend loose fitting pants and to avoid tight underwear till the wound heals.

  • Will there be swelling along the wound after the surgery?

Yes, there will be swelling around the wound site after surgery. It will resolve as the wound heals.

  • Will the head of the penis be dry?

Yes, it will be dry after circumcision for some males. 

  • Is there a recommended way to sleep after the procedure?

You may want to avoid putting pressure on the surgical area. Ideally, you should sleep on your side with your knees tucked into your chest.

  • How long after a circumcision procedure can I exercise?

Avoid strenuous physical activities for about 4 weeks after your circumcision procedure.

  • How long does one have to abstain from sex?

It would be best to abstain from intercourse or masturbation for 6 weeks or until your doctor deems it to be okay. 

About 10-14 days after your circumcision, you will be asked to return to the clinic for a follow-up visit and to ensure that your penis his healing well and that there are no complications.

Summary

Although circumcisions are usually decided on one or two days after a child’s birth, it is never too late to have a circumcision done in your adulthood. As it will be easier to keep the penis clean, there are benefits such as UTI prevention. If you are considering a cirumcision, it is important to communicate your concerns with your doctor in order to make an informed decision and a comfortable procedure.

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Dr. Fiona Wu 2

Dr Fiona Wu
Consultant Urologist

MBBS (S'pore), MRCS (Edin), MMED (Surg),
MMED (Clinical Investigation),
FRCS (Urol) (RCPSG), FAMS (Urology)

Dr Fiona Wu is an experienced Consultant Urologist and is the Medical Director of Aare Urocare.

Prior to her private practice, Dr Fiona Wu spent 15 years in public service. She was a Consultant in the Department of Urology at National University Hospital (NUH), Alexandra Hospital and Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. She was also the Programme Director of Surgery-in-Training at NUH and a core faculty member of postgraduate junior doctors. 

Dr Wu’s clinical interests lie in Female Urology, Neuro-urology, Urinary Incontinence, Reconstructive Urology and Voiding Dysfunction. She believes in treating incontinence in a holistic way using minimally invasive methods. She worked closely with the gynaecology and colorectal departments to treat complex pelvic floor conditions and continues to do so in her own practice. 

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