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Circumcision - What to Expect After Surgery

After the circumcision, the groin, penis, and scrotum may appear reddish brown because of the liquid used to clean the skin before surgery. The shaft of the penis where the skin was removed will look raw and slightly swollen.

Your baby will stay in the hospital or clinic for 2 to 4 hours after the procedure. His penis will be checked for bleeding, and the circumcision area may be covered with petroleum jelly and gauze.

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You will likely take your baby home the same day he is circumcised. Some swelling around the penis is normal in the first few days after the surgery. Some slight bleeding may occur. If this happens, apply direct but gentle pressure to the area with a clean cloth or bandage for about 5 to 10 minutes.

After surgery, your baby will feel some pain. He may be fussy and have trouble sleeping.

If gauze was used, it will probably come off when your baby urinates. Follow your doctor's directions about whether to put clean gauze on your baby's penis or to leave gauze off. If you need to remove gauze from the penis, use warm water to soak the gauze and gently loosen it.

A thin yellow film will form over the circumcision site after surgery. This is part of the normal healing process and should go away in a few days. Although the penis is beginning to heal, it may look worse a few days after circumcision. The penis should look like it's getting better about a week after surgery.

Care after surgery

Here are some things you can do to help your baby feel more comfortable:

  • Gently wash the penis with warm water after each diaper change. Don't use soap. Pat dry.
  • Put petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, on the circumcised area. Petroleum jelly keeps the scab from sticking to the diaper.
  • Make sure diapers are fastened loosely so there is less pressure on the penis while it heals.
  • Don't try to remove the film that forms on the penis. It will go away on its own.

Ask your doctor about giving your baby acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for pain. Call your doctor anytime your baby seems to be in a lot of pain.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 17, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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