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Circumcision in the male refers to the surgical removal of the prepuce (ie, foreskin) of the penis. The procedure is centuries old and continues to be performed for a variety of religious, cultural, and medical reasons. Parents of newborn males often have questions about circumcision: Is it necessary? What are its benefits? What are its risks? In addition to these medical issues, other factors that influence parental decision-making include the father’s circumcision status, opinions of family members and friends, a desire for conformity in their son’s appearance, and the belief that the circumcised penis is easier to keep clean.


Circumcision has been associated with a number of medical benefits, including lower rates of urinary tract infection (UTI), penile cancer, penile inflammation, penile dermatoses, and sexually transmitted infections. A lower rate of UTI is the major benefit during infancy.

In the uncircumcised male, the preputial space provides a warm moist environment that both traps pathogens and bodily secretions and is favorable to their survival and replication, while the foreskin itself is susceptible to microabrasions that are thought to facilitate acquisition and transmission of infection. In contrast, the keratinized glans of the circumcised male is thought to create an unfavorable environment for these processes.