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Understanding Men’s Circumcision: Medical Perspectives


Circumcision, a surgical procedure involving the removal of the foreskin covering the penis, is a practice that spans both medical necessity and cultural traditions. This article seeks to comprehensively examine the medical dimensions of male circumcision, shedding light on the conditions that may warrant the procedure and the corresponding therapeutic interventions.

Medical Reasons for Circumcision in Men:

1. Tight Foreskin (Phimosis):

– Phimosis, characterised by a foreskin too tight to retract, can result in discomfort during erections or urination.

– Before opting for circumcision, alternative treatments like topical steroids are considered.

2. Recurrent Balanitis:

– Inflammation and infection of the foreskin and penis head may necessitate circumcision as a viable treatment option.

3. Paraphimosis:

– In cases where the foreskin cannot be restored to its original position, causing swelling and pain, circumcision becomes a preventive measure against serious complications.

4. Balanitis Xerotica Obliterans:

– This condition, inducing scarring and inflammation of the foreskin (BXO) and penis head, may find resolution through circumcision.

5. Cancer of the Penis:

– Although penile cancer is rare, circumcision could be recommended as part of the treatment protocol, often coupled with surgery, radiotherapy, or chemotherapy.

Other Treatment Options

– Exploring less invasive approaches, such as topical steroids for phimosis or corticosteroid ointments for balanitis, precedes the consideration of circumcision.

Hiv Prevention

– Evidence from African trials suggests that circumcised men may have a reduced risk of HIV acquisition. However, the procedure’s effectiveness against other sexually transmitted infections remains inconclusive.

The Procedure

– Circumcision, generally a straightforward outpatient surgery, offers options for either general or local anaesthesia.

– Employing a scalpel or surgical scissors, the foreskin is excised, and the remaining edges are meticulously stitched together.


– Postoperative care involves adherence to instructions, including refraining from sexual activity for at least four weeks.

– Initial discomfort, swelling, and mild pain are anticipated, but persistent issues may signal infection, warranting prompt treatment.


– Complications post-circumcision for medical reasons are infrequent in the UK, with bleeding and infection representing the most common concerns.

– Potential complications encompass reduced sensation, tenderness around the scar, and, in some instances, additional surgical interventions are necessary.


Men’s circumcision, whether motivated by medical necessity or cultural considerations, necessitates a thorough evaluation of potential advantages and risks. Engaging in meaningful discussions with our Consultant Urologist and exploring alternative treatments are indispensable to the decision-making process.


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