To Snip Or Not To Snip? / by Dr. Natalia P Zhikhareva

To snip or not to snip?  That is the question.  At least for most parents of the newborn boy.

Circumcision is an ancient practice that has its origin in religious rites.  It involves the surgical removal of the foreskin, the tissue covering the head (glands) of the penis.

The use of circumcision for health reasons continues to be debated.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) found that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks.  However, the benefits are not great enough to recommend universal newborn circumcision.

Today, many parents have their sons circumcised.  The decision is often rooted in religious or medical basis.  While the decision to circumcise is up to parents – and there is no right or wrong answer – understanding risks and benefits of circumcision is important.


  • A decreased risk of urinary tract infections
  • Protection against penile cancer
  • Reduced risk of cervical cancer in female sex partners
  • A reduced risk of some sexually transmitted diseases in men
  • Prevention of balanitis (inflammation of the glans)
  • Prevention of balanoposthitis (inflammation of the glans and foreskin)
  • Prevention of phimosis (the inability to retract the foreskin)
  • Prevention of paraphimosis (the inability to return the foreskin to its original location)


  • Pain
  • Risk of bleeding and infection at the site of the circumcision
  • Irritation of the glans
  • Increased risk of meatitis (inflammation of the opening of the penis)
  • Risk of injury to the penis

As we can see, there appears to be more benefits than risks involved in circumcision.  Additionally, recent research by the American Academy of Pediatrics, suggests new scientific evidence shows the health benefits outweigh the risks of the procedure.

Regardless of the benefits, parents should talk with their doctor before making a decision.  Most importantly, other factors such as your culture, religion, and personal preference, should also be involved in the decision.


New Evidence Points To Greater Benefits of Infant Circumcision, But Final Say is Still Up to the Parents, Says AAP.  August 27, 2012.

Circumcision.  The Mayo Clinic.

Circumcision Basics.  WebMD

What are you thoughts on circumcision?  Should it still be a parental choice or a mandatory procedure?