FAQ Teen/Adult Circumcision
Swelling and Bruising
- After the operation the area will be swollen and look bruised. This is a normal effect from both the local anaesthetic being used and the handling of the tissues during the operation. This will gradually reduce over the next week or two.
- If you normally wear boxer shorts you may find that they give insufficient support immediately post-operative.
- You may wish to consider some form of briefs which will hold your penis in position and thus reduce the frictional stimulation which it would otherwise receive if allowed to swing freely.
- It serves two purposes, to protect the wound and to contain/reduce swelling.
- Removal of the initial bandage is a compromise between maintaining the compression for as long as possible to reduce swelling as fast as possible, and changing the dressing on the wound before it sticks too much to the healing skin.
- 2 to 3 days after the operation is generally regarded as the best compromise time. The bandage may be stained with small amounts of blood (particularly the inner layers) and will need to be soaked off in the bath to avoid tearing the healing wound.
- Place only enough lukewarm water in a bath as needed to just cover your groin completely.
- You may wish to put in a few spoonful of salt to promote healing.
- Add in the antiseptic solution provided.
- Now peel, not pull away any tape holding the bandage. If needed, cut the bandage into manageable lengths as you unwind it. (Having a small plastic bag available to throw the used bandage into is a good idea.)
- Slowly unwind the bandage, stopping whenever you start to need to use any force to release it let the water soak the clotted blood off and then continue.
- Be sure to remove the entire bandage, including any odd strands of gauze that might otherwise become embedded in the wound.
- Once the bandage is off, wash away any bloody water and replace it with more lukewarm water.
- Allow the exposed area to soak for a few minutes (not too long, but enough to remove caked blood) and then pat dry with a gauze pad followed by applying a fresh bandage to protect the wound as it continues to heal.
- A thin coating of a bland ointment, e.g. Vaseline, before applying the bandage will reduce the possibility of blood making it stick to the skin.
- Everyone reacts differently with respect to pain. For most people a circumcision will not be truly painful, but a degree of discomfort is to be expected during the first few days.
- If you choose to take pain killing tablets, then follow the instructions precisely. Do not take more than the recommended maximum dose.
- If you have a favourite brand of pain killer and the doctor has prescribed something else, be sure to ask about the effects of 'mixing and matching'.
- Do not take Aspirin or any Aspirin based product since these thin the blood and have an anti-clotting action which can increase bleeding from a wound.
- The stitches need to remain in place long enough for the cut edges to knit together and to allow the skin around them to fully heal. In practice this usually means they should remain for between 2 and 3 weeks. Leaving them longer increases the risk of small holes (or 'stitch tunnels') remaining in the skin.
- Although the doctor will normally use soluble (or self-dissolving) stitches they should still be removed after 3 weeks if not already dissolved by then.
- To reduce the effect of nocturnal erections pulling on the stitches during the first few days, empty your bladder before going to bed and a few times during the night.
- Do not lie on your back, but on your side.
- It may be helpful to draw your knees up a bit into a more foetal position.
- Do not be over eager to engage in sexual activity until your circumcision has fully healed, which will normally take up to six weeks.
- To avoid excessive friction on the healing scar line you may wish to consider the use of a condom. A condom should always be used for penetrative sex (even with a regular partner) until the scar line is completely healed and settled down, which may take two to three months to achieve.
Time off School or Work
- There is no absolute need to take time off school or work after circumcision, but you may find it very hard to concentrate on work for the first few days and so may find it useful to take a week off.
- A week, or even two off work is very desirable if you do heavy lifting or if your job keeps you seated and unable to move around freely for long periods.
- Do not schedule a circumcision immediately before major examinations.
- You should naturally avoid fast-moving or contact sports, cycling and swimming until your circumcision has fully healed.