Care After Circumcision

Circumcision is a simple procedure most often done in the nursery before a baby boy goes home from the hospital, if the family has chosen to have it done. Circumcision can be done in a number of ways. Your healthcare provider will explain the procedure and tell you what to expect. To care for your son after circumcision, follow the tips below.

What to expect 

  • A crust of bloody or yellowish coating may appear around the head of the penis. This is normal. Don’t clean off the crust or it may bleed.

  • The penis may swell a little, or bleed a little around the incision.

  • The head of the penis might be slightly red or black and blue.

  • Your baby may cry at first when he urinates, or be fussy for the first couple of days.

  • The circumcision should heal in 1 to 2 weeks.

Keep the penis clean

  • Gently wash your son’s penis with warm water during diaper changes if the penis has stool on it.

  • Use a soft washcloth.

  • Let the skin air-dry.

  • Change diapers often to help prevent infection.

  • Coat the head of the penis with petroleum jelly and gauze if the healthcare provider says to.

For the Gomco or Mogan clamp

  • If there is gauze or a bandage on the penis, you may be asked either to remove it the next day, or to change it each time you change diapers.

For the Plastibell device

  • Let the cap fall off by itself. This takes 3 to 10 days.

  • Call your healthcare provider if the cap falls off within the first 2 days or stays on for more than 10 days.

Image of penis

Image of penis

When to call your healthcare provider

  • The penis is very red or swells a lot.

  • Your child develops a fever:

    • For an infant less than 3 months old, a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

    • For a child of any age who has a temperature that rises repeatedly to 104°F (40°C) or higher 

    • A fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under 2 years old or for 3 days in a child 2 years or older

    • Your child has had a seizure

    • Your child is acting very ill, listless, or fussy 

  • The discharge becomes heavy, is a greenish color, or lasts more than a week.

  • Bleeding cannot be stopped by applying gentle pressure.


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