Urology :: Postoperative Care for Circumcision
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These instructions are general guidelines, and specific changes or instructions for each patient may differ. Please follow instructions given by the child’s surgeon and CHOC Children's Urology Center staff.

A circumcision is a surgery done to remove the foreskin from the head of the penis. This information is intended for patients who will be undergoing a circumcision by one of the CHOC Children’s Urology Center specialists at our hospital. The procedure is considered an “outpatient” surgery, in which the child arrives in the morning and leaves the same day.


Before the Procedure 
Please buy over-the-counter antibiotic ointment (i.e. Bacitracin, Neosporin, Polysporin) and ibuprofen, which can be generic or a name brand such as Advil or Motrin. The ibuprofen should be appropriate for your child’s age—infant, children or adult formula.


Pain Medicine
Some children may be sent home with Tylenol #3 to be taken as needed for pain.  Most children need it for one to three days. If the doctor prescribed Tylenol #3 (with codeine) tablet or elixir, please try to give it to the patient as little as possible. Codeine causes constipation and can be very painful for the child. Should the child become constipated, we recommend using the over-the-counter stool softener, Miralax, for relief and to try using ibuprofen instead of the Tylenol #3.  Do not take Tylenol #3 and regular Tylenol (also known as acetaminophen in its generic form) at the same time. Taking too much Tylenol (acetaminophen) can cause a harmful overdose. If needed, ibuprofen and ONE Tylenol product can be taken within the same time period. 


Dressing Instructions 
If the patient has a dressing or bandage, soak this off in the bathtub the day after surgery. Diaper the penis upwards against the abdomen, so it is pointing towards the belly button. Minor bleeding may occur, which is normal. Caregivers should expect to see clear or yellow oozing and scabbing, as well as bruising and/or swelling. If the bandage falls off on its own, simply start applying antibiotic ointment. The stitches used around the head of the penis will fall off on their own, usually in about 14 days.

Also, put crushed ice into a sandwich bag (Ziploc-style bags help prevent leakage) and place this in between the double diapers, or put over underwear to help reduce swelling and pain. Never apply ice directly to the skin.


Bathing Instructions  
Start bathing the day after surgery and for one week after surgery. Bathe three to four times daily in plain water for 15 minutes and air dry. Apply over the counter antibiotic ointment at each diaper change, or four times each day for one week. At each diaper change, or four to six times each day, make sure the shaft (body) skin of the penis is not healing to the glans (head) of the penis. Gently pull the shaft skin down towards the body so that you can see the coronal groove all the way around the penis.  It is normal for the skin to appear “attached” on the underside of the penis, this is called the “frenulum.” Apply the ointment in this groove to help keep the shaft skin from healing to the glans.


Start with clear liquids then progress to a regular diet as tolerated. The anesthesia can cause some stomach discomfort (nausea or vomiting) and a fever 24 to 48 hours after the procedure.


Activity Instructions  
For two weeks after the procedure, the child should avoid trauma to the surgical area—no rough housing, contact sports, bicycle riding or physical education. Younger children should avoid walkers or straddle toys, such as bouncy chairs or rocking horses. At the child’s follow-up appointment about one week after the proedure, our staff will provide more specific directions as to when it is safe to return to activities. Patients can usually swim one week after surgery. 



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chocChildren's Hospital of Orange County | UCI University of California, Irvine

Children's Hospital of Orange County is affiliated with UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of Medicine

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