Stuart Rubenstein, M.D., F.A.A.P.
Certified Mohel
Former Chief of Pediatrics,
Scripps Memorial Hospital,
La Jolla, CA

About Circumcision

Circumcision is a common, minor surgical procedure that occurs about 1.2 million times per year throughout the United States. The same procedure (including sterilized equipment) that occurs at the hospital and the doctor’s office will occur at your home.

In addition to the religious significance, there are some medical benefits. These include a reduction in urinary tract infections (on the order of 3 to 10 times less frequent than in those who are not circumcised) and an almost complete elimination of penile cancer. Sexually transmitted diseases are less likely to be transmitted if you are circumcised (including AIDS). There is no evidence that circumcision affects sexual function or the ability to feel pleasure. In fact, a survey of adult males suggested less sexual dysfunction in circumcised adult men.

As with any medical procedure, it is important to know about the risks. These include bleeding, infection and a poor cosmetic result. Fortunately, these occur at a rate of approximately 0.2%, and most of these are minor bleeding. More serious complications are extremely rare and are usually related to faulty technique, untrained individuals performing the procedure, or unsafe circumstances for the procedure.

The pain of circumcision can be significantly reduced. I use a combination of three separate methods for pain relief. First, I have parents apply a topical lidocaine anesthetic to the penis one hour before the Bris. Second, I give the baby either a pacifier or gauze saturated with Kosher grape wine. Finally, I have the parents give one-half (0.4 ml) dropper of Tylenol to the baby before the Bris. Parents rarely report any increase fussiness in the baby after the circumcision.

Please feel free to ask me any further questions regarding the benefits and risks of circumcision. More detailed discussion of the benefits and risks of circumcision may be found at Pediatrics Volume 103, No. 3 March 1999, p.686-693 (American Academy of Pediatrics: Circumcision Policy Statement) and Pediatrics Volume 105, No. 3 March 2000, p.620-623 (Further review of the Circumcision Policy Statement).

After you have had a chance to have all your questions answered, I will have you fill out a routine medical consent form prior to the Bris.

Serving San Diego County and Southern California