Care After Circumcision

Circumcision is a simple procedure most often done in the nursery before a baby boy goes home from the hospital, if the family has chosen to have it done. Circumcision can be done in a number of ways. Your health care provider will explain the procedure and tell you what to expect. To care for your son after circumcision, follow the tips below.

What to expect 

  • A crust of bloody or yellowish coating may appear around the head of the penis. This is normal. Don't clean off the crust or it may bleed.

  • The penis may swell a little, or bleed a little around the incision.

  • The head of the penis might be slightly red or black and blue.

  • Your baby may cry at first when he urinates, or be fussy for the first couple of days.

  • The circumcision should heal in 1 to 2 weeks.

Keep the penis clean

  • Gently wash your son’s penis with warm water during diaper changes if the penis has stool on it.

  • Use a soft washcloth.

  • Let the skin air-dry.

  • Change diapers often to help prevent infection.

  • Coat the head of the penis with petroleum jelly and gauze if the health care provider says to.

For the Gomco or Mogan clamp

  • If there is gauze or a bandage on the penis, you may be asked either to remove it the next day, or to change it each time you change diapers.

For the Plastibell device

  • Let the cap fall off by itself. This takes 3 to 10 days.

  • Call your health care provider if the cap falls off within the first 2 days or stays on for more than 10 days.

Image of penis

Image of penis

When to call your health care provider

  • The penis is very red or swells a lot.

  • Your child develops a fever:

    • For an infant less than 3 months old, a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher

    • For a child of any age who has a temperature that rises repeatedly to 104°F (40°C) or higher 

    • A fever that lasts more than 24-hours in a child under 2 years old, or for 3 days in a child 2 years or older

    • Your child has had a seizure

    • Your child is acting very ill, listless, or fussy 

  • The discharge becomes heavy, is a greenish color, or lasts more than a week.

  • Bleeding cannot be stopped by applying gentle pressure.