Properly performed newborn circumcision prevents phimosis, paraphimosis, and balanoposthitis and has been shown to decrease the incidence of cancer of the penis among US men. It may result in a decreased incidence of urinary tract infection. However, in the absence of well-designed prospective studies, conclusions regarding the relationship of urinary tract infection to circumcision are tentative. An increased incidence of cancer of the cervix has been found in sexual partners of uncircumcised men infected with human papillomavirus. Evidence concerning the association of sexually transmitted diseases and circumcision is conflicting.
Newborn circumcision is a rapid and generally safe procedure when performed by an experienced operator. It is an elective procedure to be performed only if an infant is stable and healthy. Infants respond to the procedure with transient behavioral and physiologic changes.
Local anesthesia (dorsal penile nerve block) may reduce the observed physiologic response to newborn circumcision. It also has its own inherent risks. However, reports of extensive experience or follow-up with the technique in newborns are lacking.
Newborn circumcision has potential medical benefits and advantages as well as disadvantages and risks. When circumcision is being considered, the benefits and risks should be explained to the parents and informed consent obtained.