Circumcision: Surgical Methods and Complications

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, MSS, 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.

This presentation is 90 minutes in length.

Cost: $7.50

Certificate of Completion: $7.50 (completion of post-session questionnaire required).

Continuing Education Units are available for some professional groups. To view a listing of CEU opportunities, click here.


* Warning: This program is 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.


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