Circumcision risks

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Work in progress: The following information does not claim to be complete. More content will be added gradually.

This article wants to offer a comprehensive overview of risks which can occur by undergoing a circumcision. This page is a landing page for those who want to find a quick overview about circumcision risks. Chances are that information given here is shown in more detail in other IntactiWiki articles.

Please bear in mind that infants are not born with a diseased penis that requires surgery. There are no medical indications for infant circumcision and few in later life. Infant circumcision is a medically-unnecssary, non-therapeutic amputation of functional tissue that does not treat or prevent disease. It has risks and complications but no upside benefit.

General risks

Operative risks

  • Because circumcision is type of surgery always, it also encompasses all the basic risks of surgery.

Post-operative risks (A-Z)

Psychological risks

Immediate risks

Delayed risks

Statistical risks

Out of 100 circumcised boys:[4]

  • 75 will not readily breastfeed post-op.
  • 55 will have adverse reactions from the surgery.
  • 35 will have some degree of post-op hemorrhaging.
  • 31 will develop meatal ulcers.
  • 10 will need to have repeat circumcision surgery to fix surgical errors.
  • 8 will suffer infection at the surgical site.
  • 3 will develop post-operative phimosis.
  • 2 will have more serious complications (seizure, heart attack, stroke, loss of penis, death).
  • 1 will require additional immediate surgery and sutures to stop hemorrhage.
  • 1 will develop fibrosis.
  • 1 will be treated with antibiotics for a UTI (urinary tract infection).

Of those who receive anesthesia before surgery, some will have adverse reactions to the pain medication.

Out of 100 intact boys:[4]

  • 2 will be treated with antibiotics for a UTI (fewer if the foreskin is never forcibly retracted).
  • 1 will be told to get circumcised later in life for one reason or another (fewer if the foreskin is never forcibly retracted).

AAP confirms complications

The AAP offers a coding newsletter for those who encode medical diagnoses in ICD codes. They offer a "Subspecialty Corner: Coding for Complications of Neonatal Circumcision"[5] which definitely confirms that even the AAP knows of a bunch of complications.

Complication rates

In fact, of course, not all possible complication rates have the same frequency and therefore not the same relevance. It is necessary to collect statistics on which complications are serious. Basically, however, it should be noted that circumcision without a medical indication is the most unnecessary complication in itself, with a 100% rate.

The German Academy of Children and Youth Medicine (DAKJ) (2012) conducted an internet survey of medical practices and determined a serious complication rate of approx. 6% based on the reported data.[6] Thorup et al. (2013) report that about 5.1% of the recorded complications were significant complications.[7] Zöller et al. (2014) analyzed patient data in a retrospective and find that the complication rate after male circumcision is relevant.[8]

Patel (1966) reported a complication rate of 55% in a series at Kingston General Hospital in Ontariɔ.[9]

Williams & Kapila (1993) reviewed the complications of circumcision. They estimated a complication rate of 2 to 10 percent[10]

Okeke et al. (2006) investigated the incidence of circumcision complications in Ibadan, Nigeria. They reported a complication rate of 20.2 percent[11]

Lau et al. (2018) used the Utah All-Payer Claims Database to determine the incidence of circumcision and the percentage of complications for the state of Utah. The authors reported an incidence of neonatal circumcision of in Utah of 29 percent and an incidence of complications of 11.5 percent.[12]

See also

External links


  1. REFweb Gostin, Nick (5 January 2023). Prince Harry reveals whether he’s circumcised in bombshell ‘Spare’ memoir. Retrieved 26 January 2023.
  2. REFweb Elhaik, Eran (11 January 2019). Neonatal circumcision could increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in babies – new research, MedicalXpress. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  3. REFjournal Miani A, Di Bernardo GA, Højgaard AD, Earp BD, Zak PJ, Landau AM, Hoppe J, Winterdahl M. Neonatal male circumcision is associated with altered adult socio-affective processing. J Heliyon. 20 November 2020; 6(11): [e05566]. DOI. Retrieved 20 December 2020.
  4. a b REFweb (January 2010). Intact vs. Circumcised Outcome Statistics, Dr. Momma. Retrieved 7 June 2021.
  5. REFjournal Subspecialty Corner: Coding for Complications of Neonatal Circumcision. AAP Pediatric Coding Newsletter. 2017; (9) Retrieved 24 February 2020.
  6. REFweb (21 December 2016). Beschneidung von minderjährigen Jungen [Circumcision of minor boys] (German). Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  7. REFjournal Thorup J, Cortes-Thorup S, Rasmussen-Ifaoui JB. Complication rate after circumcision in a paediatric surgical setting should not be neglected. Dan Med J. 2013; 60: 1-3. PMID. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  8. REFjournal Zöller C, Fernandez G, Peteresen C, Ure B. (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Chirurgie) Stationäre Behandlung bei Komplikationen nach männlicher Beschneidung: Retrospektive Analyse eines deutschen Referenzzentrums [Inpatient treatment for complications after male circumcision: Retrospective analysis of a German reference center] (German) 21 March 2014; Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  9. REFjournal Patel H. The problem of routine circumcision. Canad Med Assoct J. 10 September 1966; 95(11): 576-81. PMID. PMC. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
  10. REFjournal Williams N, Kapila L. Complications of circumcision.. Brit J Surg. 1993; 80(10): 1231-6. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  11. REFjournal Okeke L, Asinnobi A, Ikeurerowo O. Epidemiology of complications of male circumcision in Ibadan, Nigeria. BMC Urol.. 2006; 6(21) PMID. PMC. DOI. Retrieved 26 November 2020.
  12. REFjournal Lau G, Kim J, Shaeffer A. Identification of circumcision complications using a regional claims database. Societies for Pediatric Urology. 2018; Retrieved 26 November 2020.