Complications Caused by Circumcision
Circumcision creates a disturbingly long list of unnecessary surgical risks and complications—from lacerations, hemorrhage, infections, penile amputation, and urethral damage to an inordinately large number of badly performed circumcisions with resultant deformed penises. There is no trustworthy data on the true rate of complications. Hospitals are not obligated to report circumcision accidents.
The risks of newborn circumcision are an underreported and ignored factor... . Most often a poor surgical result is not recognized until years after the event. —J. Snyder, MD
... the true incidence of complications associated with circumcision is at best an estimate. These complications are often overlooked or under-reported... most complications were discovered only by carefully examining the nurses' notes. —J. Gearhart
Reports of circumcision-related complications vary, from 1 to 55 percent—reflecting the wide range of criteria and methods used in studies. There is simply no way of knowing which circumcised newborn will become a victim of these statistics. The only way of ensuring that an infant will not have a complication, is to avoid circumcision. To many circumcised men today, the very fact that the foreskin was destroyed is itself a complication, putting the actual rate at 100%. The long-term consequences of neonatal circumcision only now are beginning to be documented.
The accurate reporting of deaths attributed to circumcision is suspect. Many deaths from circumcision are reported as infection. Other deaths are reported as due to "complications of anesthesia" with no mention of the fact the baby had been anesthetized for no reason other than an unnecessary routine circumcision. It would take great courage on the part of a US physician to report a death attributable to circumcision, knowing that the procedure has been deemed unnecessary by the American medical societies, and that he may be sued for malpractice.
General anesthesia is very dangerous for a baby and local anesthesia is largely ineffective. If local anesthesia is used, the effect, if it works, lasts but an hour or two. Then, the pain of the amputation returns. It is now impossible to avoid contact between the raw, exquisitely sensitive glans (head) of the penis that has just had its attached covering torn off and the inevitable feces or urine-soaked diapers. The throbbing pain of the wound is aggravated every time the baby urinates and acidic urine burns the raw flesh. Even holding the infant to comfort him causes pain. It takes ten to fourteen days until the wound heals and the physical pain from the wound subsides.