Getting Circumcised

Finding a doctor

Arranging a circumcision for yourself or your son will usually begin with a visit to your GP. He or she will then refer you to a specialist who will do the operation. This will normally be a urologist for you or a pediatrician for your son. If there is a reasonable medical justification your insurance / NHS / Medicare should cover it. GPs tend to be very forgiving about what is reasonable justification, but this is a bit of a lottery so you may have to pay for it.

On this site you will find all sorts of references to 'high' and 'low' circumcisions, as well as 'tight' and loose' ones. (See our Styles page.) Not only will doctors be totally unwilling to discuss these points with you, most of the time they won't have a clue what you are talking about. These doctors perform circumcisions the way they have learnt to, from training and experience. They will do a good job, but they do it their way. Most will explain the technique they use, but that's the extent of it.

If you want to specify your style in detail you will have to go to a cosmetic surgeon and that may be more pricey, but there are plenty of cosmetic surgeons around who will do it. There are also clinics which specialise in circumcisions, mostly run by GPs, and these may be more approachable for discussions about style, and less expensive than cosmetic surgeons. Brian Morris has lists of doctors who do circumcisions on his site. There are multiple lists covering several countries.

The operation and after

The various methods of performing a circumcision are described on our Instruments and Techniques page. In the western world, only infants are likely to be circumcised by one of the mechanical clamps - Gomco, Mogen or Plastibell. Older children and adults will be done by one or other of the freehand methods.

Infants will usually be done with a local or topical anaesthetic. Bloodless techniques are normal and there may be no dressing. About a week after the operation it will essentially be all over. The Plastibell ring (if that was used) will come off, and everything will be normal for the infant.

Older children may also be circumcised with a local anaesthetic but some pediatricians prefer their patients to have a general anaesthetic. Some authorities think that this is unnecessary but there is no doubt that it has the side benefit of providing analgesia for the rest of the day when the pain would otherwise be greatest. There will usually be a dressing which comes off after a week or ten days. Until then it will need to be kept dry in the shower - a plastic bag or disposable glove can be improvised for this. After this time it will need to be soaked in the bath and then gently removed.

Adults and teenagers will often be done with the same techniques as younger boys and the same care conditions will apply. A condom can be useful to keep things dry in the shower. However there is one technique - the 'sleeve dissection' method, which needs no dressing. This was developed by British urologist Jakob Snowman (who circumcised Prince Charles) and popularised by Canadian urologist Yosh Taguchi. Here only superficial skin is removed - blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue are dissected out and remain behind. No dressing is needed and healing is rapid. The flip side is that it is a more complex operation and a general anaesthetic is always required. But according to Taguchi (OK, and the writer, who was circumcised this way) normal sexual relations can be resumed after only two weeks. This is a technique you will only find from specialist urologists - do not believe clinics which claim they are offering something similar.

Erections will always be an issue after an adult or teen circumcision. Anti-erection medication is not 100% effective but hunching up into a foetal position will relieve the tension. But whatever method is used the dressing should be gone within a week, and all stitches should be gone within a few days of that time. The official line, for adults and teens, is that sex should wait for four or five weeks. But a hand job with lube should be possible, confined to the knob, well before then.

Even once your penis is ready for action again, it may not look entirely back to normal. There is often a lot of swelling after the operation, and it can take a while to go down. The scar may look rather too prominent. It will be anything from 6 months to a year before you can really judge the final appearance of an adult circumcision.

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