Circumcision Resources

Supporting families to make healthy, safe choices based on scientific evidence.

The Day of the Surgery

It is important for parents researching circumcision to understand what the surgery involves. Circumcision Resources strongly advises any parent who is researching circumcision to view multiple videos of the procedure to ensure that they are fully informed about what occurs.

Gomco Video Link (streaming Google Video)

PlastiBell Video Link (streaming YouTube video)

Documentary Video Link (streaming YouTube video, documenting one man’s journey to discover why he was circumcised and how it was done)

Parents that wish to learn about the Gomco method of circumcision used by some doctors may click the hotlink for more information. The following quote from a physician regarding Gomco circumcision should be noted:

“Once it was carefully and correctly in place, I started turning the clamp handle. I had been told that newborns didn’t feel pain which I scarcely believed, when all of a sudden came screams which loosened the paint on the wall.

What an eye-opening, eardrum damaging event. I had heard and seen battle injured soldiers before but this screaming raised the hair on my neck.”

– Dr. Phil Levesque

Please review the following information from the CIRP library regarding typical Plastibell circumcision surgeries.

Babies will be held down by a parent or assistant or strapped down into a Circumstraint. This device has Velcro straps to restrain the baby’s arms and legs so that he cannot move. The area is prepared with an antiseptic.

Some doctors will use local anaesthesia, but this is by no means common. Anaesthetic injections will cause the penis to swell, causing pain and making the surgery more difficult. Both injections and topical anaesthetic creams can be dangerous. General anaesthesia is never used on young babies because of the risk of breathing problems.

The foreskin opening in a newborn is normally very small, to prevent the entry of foreign matter (eg. fecal matter). The first stage of circumcision is to grasp the foreskin with forceps, and widen the opening.

The foreskin is normally attached to the glans by a membrane called the synechia. The glans and inner lining of the foreskin are still developing in the young child. During circumcision, the synechia must be torn apart. Naturally, this is painful.

The foreskin is clamped. A slit is made in the dorsal side of the foreskin.

The slit is separated and the foreskin is laid back, exposing the raw and bleeding glans.

A PlastiBell of appropriate size is slipped over the glans, and the foreskin is laid over it.

A ligature is tied in the ridge of the bell, as tightly as possible around the foreskin. Oozing will occur if the ligature is loose.

After one or two minutes to allow for crush, the foreskin is sliced off at the distal edge of the ligature using a knife or scissors. The surgeon trims as much tissue as possible to reduce the amount of necrotic tissue and the possibility of infection. The handle of the bell is snapped off at this time.

The rim of tissue will become necrotic (dead) and separate with the bell in 5 to 10 days. Occasionally, edema (swelling) will trap the plastic ring on the shaft of the penis. In this case it’s usually necessary to cut off the ring, using a guide and ring cutter, although application of ice will sometimes reduce edema enough to remove the ring.

Circumcision removes (on average) one third of the penile skin system (sensitive inner and outer preputial layers), including the peripenic dartos muscle, the frenar band, and part of the frenulum. More about these structures and their functions here.

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