Inovo Medical Logo

Circumcision Complications


As with any surgical procedure, circumcision is associated with few and infrequent complications. Even though complications are rare, do not hesitate to consult the doctor if you have any questions about your son’s healing process.


Please check your baby’s diaper for bleeding every hour or so for the first 24 hours following the circumcision. When you open the diaper, it is normal for the covering gauze to be a little red from bleeding.

*Note: If you see that he is bleeding more than he should be, apply pressure to the penis the same way you would treat a cut on the tip of your finger. In almost all cases, bleeding is controlled by direct pressure.

  1. Apply pressure to the penis for 5 minutes, no less. Do this by grasping the penis between your thumb and two fingers using a piece of gauze with some Vaseline to prevent sticking.
  2. After applying pressure, inspect the area for continued bleeding and repeat step one if necessary.
  3. Once the bleeding has stopped, apply a fresh gauze square with Vaseline and close the diaper. Recheck the diaper after 10 minutes for any signs of more blood on the gauze.
    Remember: It is reasonable for you to try the pressure technique twice, for 5 minutes at a time, before calling. Most bleedings will stop with this.

If the penis is dripping any blood, and you cannot stop the bleeding with the pressure technique that we have demonstrated to you, call the number given to you by the doctor immediately!

Concealed Penis:

When the length of the penile shaft is no greater than its diameter or when there is a good amount of pubic fat, the penis will tend to retract inward. This is normal. This characteristic is only a concern for the first month or two since the healing circumcision can adhere to the surrounding skin resulting in a “concealed penis”.
If your son fits this profile, you can reduce the chance of concealed penis by applying a very thin layer of Vaseline to the entire glans, once a day, until the glans takes on a healed appearance (about 1-2 months). To expose a glans that has retracted inward, place gentle downward pressure on either side of the base of the penis.
Consult the doctor if the penis cannot be fully exposed, or if any connecting skin bridges form between the shaft skin and the head of the penis. 


Common signs of infection include; a pus-like discharge, a foul smell, excessive swelling or redness, local warmth, a fever, or a rash anywhere in the area of the penis.

If you notice any of these signs, or that your son has not urinated in over 12 hours, consult your specialist right away.

Ring Migration (Plastibell only)

  • If the ring migrates down under the glans, call us immediately. If that happens and your son has not urinated in a few hours, you MUST call us to come in as soon as possible. If you are unable to reach him, then you must to go to the nearest emergency room.

Keep in mind the following things:

    1. If your child has any medical problems or significant jaundice, discuss this with the physician before giving him more Tylenol.
    2. You can sponge bathe your baby following the circumcision, but do not totally submerse him in water for 2 days after his surgery.

If you have any other comments or questions, do not hesitate to call the office.

Frequency of Complications:

The frequency of complications after circumcision varies with the skill and experience of the physician amongst other factors. Studies have shown the following complication rates for this procedure:

Significant post-operation bleeding requiring medical attention of any kind. 1/400

Phimosis or narrowing of the shaft skin opening over the head of the penis requiring medical intervention. 1/500

Buried or trapped penis ie. Penis gets partially buried in the abdomen and requires medical intervention. 1/800

Infection requiring antibiotics. 1/1000

Meatal Stenosis – Narrowing of the urethra requiring medical intervention. 1/1000

Skin Bridge (requiring surgical correction) will have a skin bridge (fine bridge of skin that has grown to connect the shaft skin to the head of the penis) that requires surgical correction. Experienced circumcision physicians will often be able to pick up formation of skin bridges on the follow-up visit after circumcision and at that time they are extremely simple to separate with a simple easing back of the skin. 1/1000

Suboptimal cosmetic result 1/500

It has never occurred in our practice:

  • Trauma to the head of the penis.
  • More serious complications including death.
  • Glan amputations

Disclaimer: As with any medical treatment, results will vary among individuals, and there is no implication that you will receive the same outcome as patients herein. There could be pain involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you are properly informed. The information in this website is offered for educational purposed only and does not imply or give medical advice. The photos used may be models and not patients.