Circumcision: 100 Known Complications and Risks

Complications and risks are much more numerous than most doctors know or disclose



Local Infections (6)

staphylococcal infections, abscess of penis and scrotum, erysipelas, acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, tetanus, myiasis

Systemic Infections (2)

septicemia, Fournier’s gangrene

Surgical Complications (31)

excessive skin removal, excessive residual skin, total denudation of the penis, urethral fistula, multiple pyogenic granulomas, subglandular stricture, scrotal trauma, Plastibell retention, pseudoparaphimosis, bivalving, necrosis/ischemia, amputation of the penis and glans, acute urinary retention, urine advancing in subcutaneous fascial planes, unilateral leg cyanosis, gastric rupture, pulmonary embolism, apnea and apparent life-threatening events, pneumothorax, chilling, erythema multiforme, hyperbilirubenemia (jaundice), myocardial injury, tachycardia, heart failure, hematoma, priapism, penodynia, swelling and blistering from topical anesthesia, bruising from injected anesthesia

Delayed Complications (21)

meatitis, meatal ulcers, meatal stenosis, hidden/buried penis, iatrogenic phimosis, preputial stenosis, penile size change, penile rotation, adhesions, skin bridges, keloid formation, subcutaneous granuloma, epidermal cyst, penile edema, penile cutaneous horns, hair strangulation, amputation neuroma, paraphimosis, latex allergy and sensitization, penile chordee, balanitis

Psychological Complications (26)

For the infant: disruption of the child-mother bond/insecure emotional attachment, deteriorated feeding, changed activity level, changed sleep patterns, irritability, emotional withdrawal, extended crying, post-traumatic stress disorder, changed mother-infant interaction, maternal distress and regret, increased pain response

For the man: alexithymia, autism, hyperactivity, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, resentment, avoidance of intimacy, depression, anger, shame, distrust, feeling mutilated/damaged/inferior, adverse effects on relationships with parents, compulsive behaviors, feeling betrayed by medical profession

Human Rights

violation of the right to an intact body

Sexual Complications (11)

erectile dysfunction, decreased penile sensitivity, dry and/or keratinized glans, decreased sexual satisfaction, orgasm difficulties, decreased female satisfaction, vaginal dryness, requirement of lubricants, painful intercourse, premature ejaculation, increased masturbation



Signed informed consent is required before circumcision. It means that a doctor must make every effort to be sure the patient (or, in this case, the parent) understands the purpose, benefits, risks, and other options of circumcision. Clearly, parents who sign informed consent forms prior to circumcision are not truly and completely informed. Parents don’t know what they don’t know.  Doctors fail to meet their responsibilities.

Updated: December 13, 2021 — 2:31 pm