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Circumcision (cont.)


When to Seek Medical Care

A small amount of oozing, soreness (an irritable baby), bleeding, swelling, and yellow crust formation around the incision is normal after circumcision. Call the doctor if these conditions develop:

  • discoloration of the penis (could be signs of insufficient blood flow or infection);
  • bleeding that does not stop within a few minutes, or a spot of blood in the diaper larger than a silver dollar;
  • discharge that includes pus, or spreading redness;
  • fever (typically a rectal temperature of 11.4 F or more);
  • not making urine; or
  • unable to be comforted.

Go to the hospital's emergency department to have your baby checked if your child shows signs of infection (such as spreading redness, pus, swelling, or fever), displays blood-flow problems, has bleeding that does not stop, or if you are unable to reach the baby's doctor.

Circumcision Treatment

After the circumcison, the doctor will dress the wound. If there are problems, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics and might have to perform surgery.

Self-Care at Home

The care after circumcision of your infant depends on the method that was used to perform the circumcision. Consult your doctor as that care varies. You may need to keep his penis wrapped in gauze that is dabbed with petroleum jelly or ointment and change this every time you change his diaper. You may simply be asked to keep the area clean and dry like the surrounding skin of the diaper area. Use sponge baths instead of tub baths to avoid getting his penis wet until healing is complete or the “ring” falls off, typically about one week after the surgery.

Medical Treatment

Depending on the problem, the doctor may start your baby on antibiotics, cauterize or seal off the bleeding, or in some instances, perform surgery to fix the problem.


Take your child for follow-up care with his pediatrician at two weeks if no complications arise.


You can prevent some of the complications of circumcision by very carefully keeping the area clean during diaper changes.


Few infants have complications from circumcision (as few as 2%). Most complications are easy to treat. To reduce the risk of complications, be sure the doctor performing the circumcision is experienced.

Medically reviewed by Margaret Walsh, MD; American Board of Pediatrics

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/30/2014

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