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Circumcision Home Care Instructions

(757) 668-7000

A circumcision is an operation to remove the foreskin. The foreskin is the loose skin that covers the head of the penis. Most children are fussy for the first few hours after this procedure.

What to expect after surgery:

  • There might be some swelling of the penis after surgery. This will slowly go away during the next month.
  • The head of the penis may be very raw looking and may develop a scab. A ‘wet scab; on the head of the penis looks like a thin yellow-white coating on the surface, and this is normal.
  • For a few days, your child may have some burning or stinging when he passes his urine. During this time you might see a small amount of blood on his underwear/diaper. This is normal.
  • There may be stitches around the penis. These will dissolve and do not need to be removed.
  • Your child may have a clear plastic dressing or Vaseline gauze around the penis. This is to prevent irritation caused by the diapers or underwear. When the gauze falls off, it does not need to be replaced.
  • In some children the head of the penis is hidden by the fat pad at the base of the penis. If so, you may gently push the fat pad down with diaper changes to prevent the healing edge of the circumcision from tightening down and trapping the head of the penis.

If your child received general anesthesia:

  • Parents are invited into the Post Anesthesia Care Unit (PACU) soon after the child awakens.
  • You may notice a red, flushed color on your child's face and chest. This blotchy red flushing is due to medicine your child received in surgery. It will soon fade.

Special notes:

  • Infants and toddlers who are not toilet trained may wear loose-fitting diapers. Loose clothing should be worn by older children.
  • No straddling or riding toys (such as tricycles, toy horses, etc.) as instructed by your child’s doctor.
  • Your child may return to school when allowed by his doctor.
  • Minor bleeding can be controlled by placing a soft cloth over the penis and applying pressure for five minutes.
  • Your child may have a bath on the second or third day after surgery or when allowed by his doctor.
  • You may be taught to apply antibiotic ointment to the surgical site several times a day.
  • A non-aspirin pain reliever may be used for pain relief, if needed.

Call your child's doctor if:

  • Bleeding persists after five minutes or with applied pressure.
  • The head of the penis has thick, yellow drainage or foul smell.  
  • Your child's temperature is greater than 101.5 degrees Fahrenheit rectally or by mouth. Slight fevers are normal.
  • Your child has vomiting that lasts more than six hours or if the vomiting is severe.
  • There are signs of dehydration. Your child can become dehydrated when he has prolonged or severe vomiting and is not able to drink enough fluid to keep up with the loss.
  • after a week or two the healing edge of the circumcision is tightening down and preventing the head of the penis from coming out.

Signs of Dehydration

  • Dry mouth 
  • Decreased amount of urine, difficulty urinating or fewer wet diapers than usual in an infant/toddler.
  • Sunken look around eyes 
  • No tears when crying  


Please call your child's doctor if you have any questions. Use the phone number your child's nurse gives you.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to substitute or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your child's physician. The content provided on this page is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your child's physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a medical condition.

Reviewed: 11/2017

(757) 668-7000