12:11 (GMT+2), Fri, 30 September 2011
When is circumcision medically necessary for a child?
Pretoria-based general practitioner Dr Sheraaz Ganchi says that medical circumcisions are rarely necessary. “In newborns and even young pre-pubertal boys, the foreskin is generally adherent to the glans (the head of the penis). As the child gets older, hormonal influences allow the foreskin to become more retractile. Sometimes the foreskin can be very narrow at the tip of the penis, which can impede urination or make it painful. This is referred to as phimosis. A circumcision will thus be necessary to relieve the obstruction.” Ganchi says that another reason for medical circumcision in a child would be a specific trauma to the foreskin.
There are grown men who opt to go for an elective circumcision. Johannesburg based paediatrician Dr Mirjana Lucic says elective circumcisions among the black population have increased in the last few years due to a recommendation from the World Heath Organisation that circumcision prevents transmission of HIV. “These men also often have the same traditional and cultural circumcision rites.” Lucic says the incidence of elective circumcisions is, however, decreasing in the white population.
If it has to be done, when is the best time?
Ganchi says that most families have their children circumcised at birth or within a few weeks following birth. “The procedure can, in fact, be safely performed immediately after birth, or it can be electively booked as soon as the parents are willing to have the procedure done. The same applies to medical circumcisions which should be done as soon as possible,” explains Ganchi.
By Xanet van Vuuren
The importance of the foreskin
xanet van vuuren, baby, birth, circumcision