Penis & scrotum

Topic Completed: 1 May 2010

Minor changes: 12 February 2019

Copyright: 2002-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Circumcision[TI] penis pathology

Alcides Chaux, M.D.
Antonio L. Cubilla, M.D.
Page views in 2019: 522
Page views in 2020 to date: 293
Cite this page: Chaux A, Cubilla AL. Circumcision. website. Accessed August 8th, 2020.
Definition / general
  • Surgical excision of foreskin
  • Recommended by WHO to reduce incidence of HIV in heterosexual men (J Infect Dev Ctries 2008;2:328, WHO: HIV / AIDS [Accessed 28 March 2018])
  • In U.S., neonatal circumcision is estimated to reduce HIV risk by 16% (PLoS One 2010;5:e8723)
  • Circumcision is associated with reduced incidence of penile cancer if performed at birth, by preventing chronic inflammatory preputial conditions (lichen sclerosus, chronic balanoposthitis); less effective in preventing penile cancer when carried out in adulthood
  • Noncircumcised men have higher incidence of HPV and HIV, possibly due to CD4+ T lymphocytes on inner mucosa of foreskin or increased incidence of coital injuries (J Urol 2010;184:203)
  • Higher risk of complications at older ages, with inexperienced providers or with nonsterile conditions (BMC Urol 2010;10:2)
  • See Wikipedia: Circumcision Controversies [Accessed 28 March 2018] for discussion of controversies about circumcision
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