Does Cosmetic Surgery Harm Babies?
Does Cosmetic Surgery Harm Babies? features the late Dr. Paul Fleiss:
A new study found circumcision so traumatic that doctors ended the study early rather than subject any more babies to the operation without anesthesia.
The necessity of circumcision is the subject of increasing debate , but the traditional reasons for the operations have always been prevention.
Dr. Arthur Gumer of Northside Hospital in Atlanta says circumcision has been thought to provide "protection against infectious diseases later in life which would include either sexually transmitted diseases or urinary tract infections."
One of the reasons anesthesia is not used, the study found, is the belief that infants feel little or no pain from the procedure. It has also been argued that injecting anesthesia can be as painful as circumcision itself, and that infants don't remember the procedure, anyway. Study measured heart rate, crying pattern
Preparation for a circumcision
But there are those who find that reasoning difficult to believe, and Gumer is one of them.
"To say that the baby doesn't remember it is not an adequate excuse to me," he said. "Babies experience other painful procedures and we worry about that, and we do give them anesthetics for those procedures."
But the Edmonton researchers, whose study was published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, studied the heart rates and crying patterns of babies during different stages of circumcision. Some babies were given an anesthetic and others were not.
Topicals woefully inadequate
Rabbi Ariel Asa has performed hundreds of circumcisions. When families request it, he says he puts an anesthetic on the skin, in an effort to reduce some of the pain. But he admits it's not very effective.
In fact, they found the results so compelling that they took the unusual step of stopping the study before it was scheduled to end rather than subjecting any more babies to circumcision without anesthesia.
- (11 September 2006).
Pain of circumcision and pain control, Circumcision Information Reference Library. Retrieved 4 October 2022.
- Lander J, Brady-Frerer B, Metcalfe JB, Nazerali S, Muttit S. Comparison of ring block, dorsal penile nerve block, and topical anesthesia for neonatal circumcision. JAMA. 24 December 1997; 278(24): 2157-64. PMID. Retrieved 7 November 2021.