Consent: Circumcision

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Last updated: June 18, 2021
Revisions: 9

Last updated: June 18, 2021
Revisions: 9

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This article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a template for consenting patients. The person obtaining consent should have clear knowledge of the procedure and the potential risks and complications. Always refer to your local or national guidelines, and the applicable and appropriate law in your jurisdiction governing patient consent.

Overview of Procedure

A circumcision is a procedure which removes the foreskin of the penis, performed under general anaesthesia. Whilst commonly performed for religious reasons, medical indications for the procedure include phimosis, balanitis xerotica obliterans, or penile cancer confined to the foreskin.



Complication Description of Complication Potential Ways to Reduce Risk
Haemorrhage Damage to the frenular artery may cause persistent bleeding requiring return to theatre
Damage to surrounding structures Iatrogenic injury to the glans of the penis
Anaesthetic risks Includes damage to the teeth, throat and larynx, reaction to medications, nausea and vomiting, cardiovascular and respiratory complications. Forms a part of the anaesthetist assessment before the operation



Complication Description of Complication Potential Ways to Reduce Risk
Pain Pain or irritation around the operation site Regular analgesia post-operatively and the use of a penile block
Infection Surgical site infections can occur, leading to delayed wound healing Maintain an aseptic technique throughout the procedure
Bleeding Bleeding from the wound, reactive to any infection or wound breakdown
Insufficient foreskin removed or poor cosmesis Insufficient foreskin removal may require further operation
Difficulty passing urine This may necessitate short-term catheterisation
Meatal ulceration Caused by friction of penis against underwear
Permanent altered sensation or reduced pleasure Often the case in those undergoing the procedure for phimosis