Bleeding and hemorrhage is an ever-present risk of every surgery.
The vast majority of circumcisions performed in the United States are medically-unnecessary, non-therapeutic circumcisions performed on newborn infants in which there is no medical indication or disease of any kind present.
Newborn infants, which weigh only a few pounds, have very little blood in their tiny bodies. Loss of only a slight amount of blood can and does cause exsangination and hypovolemic shock. Losing over 2.4 ounces of blood may cause death.
What the AAP says
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issued its last position statement on male circumcision in 2012. That statement has received unrelenting critical comment since its publication. Under AAP policy, every statement expires after five years unless re-affirmed. The circumcision statement has not been affirmed, so it has expired. At the present time (2020) the AAP has no policy statement on circumcision.
"[S]ome of the serious complications that can occur during the procedure include death from excess bleeding and amputation of the glans penis. Postoperative complications include the formation of skin bridges between the shaft and the glans, infection, urinary retention (this has caused deaths), meatal ulcer, impetigo, fistulas, loss of penile sensitivity, sexual dysfunction and oedema of the glans." They also acknowledge that the frequency of complications is "underestimated because events occuring after the discharge are not captured [in the discharge sheet]" and sometimes are treated at a different hospital.
An estimated number of complications is calculated in this page.
- Newell, Chico (19 January 2004).
JUDGEMENT OF INQUIRY INTO THE DEATH OF McWILLIS, RYLEIGH ROMAN BRYAN, Cirumstitions, Office of the Chief Coroner, Province of British Columbia. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
- Hiss J, Horowitz A, Kahama T. Fatal haemorrhage following male ritual circumcision. J Clin Forensic Med. 2000; 7: 32-4. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 16 January 2019.
Hypovolemic shock, The Free Dictionary, Farlex. Retrieved 16 January 2020.
- Weiss, Helen (2010).
Neonatal and child male circumcision: a global review, UNAIDS. Retrieved 23 November 2012.