Gillian Longley, RN, BSN, MSS is the state coordinator of the Colorado chapter of the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers (NOCIRC) (www.ColoradoNOCIRC.org), and is a member of the Board of Health Professionals of Intact America (www.IntactAmerica.org). A Registered Nurse and former Bradley Method childbirth educator, Gillian has worked for the last eleven years in newborn nursery and neonatal intensive care, with previous nursing experience in labor & delivery and public health. Gillian’s Master’s research focused on informed consent for newborn circumcision. She has presented on circumcision and the foreskin to nurses, doctors, doulas, midwives, parents, legislators, and general audiences. Gillian is the mother of two grown intact sons, and lives with her husband in Boulder, Colorado.
Circumcision: Surgical Methods and Complications
The Intact Boy: Part I, The Foreskin
The United States has been a predominantly circumcising culture since the mid 20th century, a time when childbirth and infancy began to be heavily medicalized through childbirth interventions and the aggressive marketing of infant formulas. Along with the loss of knowledge of normal childbirth and breastfeeding, Americans have also lost their knowledge of the normal intact (non-circumcised) penis.
This lack of knowledge of the foreskin on the part of North American parents and health professionals underlies, in part, the perpetuation of the practice of circumcision, and has frequently led to false or harmful advice on the care of intact boys. Part I of this series demystifies the foreskin, while at the same time laying a foundation for understanding the harmful impact of its loss to circumcision.
Warning: These programs are liberally illustrated with photographs and diagrams of adult and infant penises, as well as graphic images of the circumcision procedure. These images are intended for educational purposes only, but some viewers may find them offensive or disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.
Each of these presentations is 90 minutes in length.
Cost: $7.50 per lecture.
Certificate of Completion: $7.50 per lecture (completion of post-session questionnaire required).
Continuing Education Units available for some professionals. Click here for more information.
The Foreskin (90 minutes)
Presenters: Gillian Longley RN, BSN
In this course, Gillian Longley RN, BSN, explains the anatomy of the intact penis, and shows how its unique structure and specialized tissue support a wide array of protective and sexual functions. The development of the foreskin in the fetus and child is also discussed, particularly the gradual natural separation of the foreskin from the head (glans) of the penis. This information provides the rationale for a discussion of correct care of the penis in the intact boy, and the normal variations that may occur during penile development in childhood. This presentation concludes with a discussion of the problem of forcible, premature retraction of the foreskin by incorrectly informed health care professionals. Although the American Academy of Pediatrics specifically recommends against forcible retraction, as circumcision rates drop in North America more and more boys are subjected to this inappropriate, unnecessary, and harmful practice that is obsolete in most of the world.
Circumcision: Surgical Methods and Complications (90 minutes)
Presenter: Gillian Longley RN, BSN
Parents are largely unfamiliar with the realities of how a foreskin is actually cut away. The common myths that circumcision is “quick and safe,” ”just a little snip” or that the baby doesn’t experience any pain are false representations of the procedure. In fact, circumcision involves multiple tissue-damaging steps to remove the foreskin. Moreover, the circumcision devices used on the small penis of a newborn are relatively imprecise – which may lead to specific complications beyond the usual surgical risks of bleeding and infection. This course, led by Gillian Longley RN, BSN, provides participants with an in depth understanding of what is really involved with a circumcision and what the baby undergoing a circumcision may experience, during and after the procedure.
The presentation begins with an exploration of infant pain, and circumcision pain relief measures, including the facts that not all doctors use anesthesia for circumcision, that no method of local anesthesia has been shown to completely eliminate the pain of circumcision, and that babies do remember the pain of circumcision. The three main techniques of infant circumcision are explained step by step with still photo illustrations. The range of complications which may result are illustrated and explained, including the often-ignored longer term harms that may occur due to loss of the foreskin’s protective and sexual functions, which may not manifest until years later.
The course closes with a brief look at the potentially harmful effects of circumcision on breastfeeding and mother-child bonding, which is covered in greater depth in a later class in this series.