Circumcision Complications

The incidence of complications, risks, and adverse effects of male circumcision is controversial. There is wide disagreement on what constitutes a complication. Some studies only record immediate in hospital complications, while other studies record complications that occur later in life. Needless to say, these variations cause a wide range in the reported incidence of complications. None of the available prospective studies consider the sexual effects of male circumcision in adult life. The National Organization to Halt the Abuse and Routine Mutilation of Males (NOHARMM) has compiled statistical data on the estimated total number of complications and has made it available on the World Wide Web.

Williams and Kapila estimate that a realistic rate of complications from neonatal circumcision ranges from 2% to 10%. To many men who become aware of the function and value of the prepuce, the fact that this genital sensory organ was amputated from them at birth is itself a complication of circumcision; in which case, the actual complication rate is 100%… For males fortunate enough to survive the surgery without immediate complications, there is a growing awareness among men of other delayed, long-term consequences of neonatal circumcision, which are only now beginning to be documented.
–Awakenings (NOHARMM)


Circumcision Complications (WARNING: GRAPHIC)


Prospective Studies of Circumcision Complications
Prospective studies of circumcision complications are controlled studies of the type and number of complications of circumcision that occur in a clinical setting. CIRP provides studies from Canada, England, New Zealand, Turkey, and the United States. Prospective studies usually provide information on the incidence (percentage of boys suffering adverse effects) of complications. Reported rates of complications range up to 55%.

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6. Ozdemir E. Significantly increased complication risk with mass circumcisions. Brit J Urol, Vol 80, Pages 136-139, August 1997.
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8. Mayer E, Caruso DJ, Ankem M, et al. Anatomic variants associated with newborn circumcision complications. Can J Urol 2003;10(5):2013-6.
9. Corbett HJ, Humphrey GME. Early complications of circumcisions performed in the community. Br J Gen Pract 2003;53(496):887-8.
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Retrospective Studies

Retrospective studies examine medical records. In a small retrospective study limited to the incidence of adhesions in circumcised boys, Gracely-Kilgore reported that 15 percent of circumcised boys experience adhesions. Three percent required surgical correction. El-Bahnasawy reported that circumcision is the most frequent cause of penile injury.

11. Gracely-Kilgore KA. Penile adhesion: the hidden complication of circumcision. Nurse Pract 1984; 9: 22-4.
12. Ahmed A, Mbibi NH, Dawam D, Kalayi GD. Complications of traditional male circumcision. Ann Trop Paediatr 1999;91(1):113-7.
13. El-Bahnasawy MS, El-Sherbiny MT. Penile pediatric trauma. BJU Int 2002;90:92-96.
14. Perovic SV. Severe penile injuries: etiology, management and outcomes. Urol Pol 2005;58(3):