Circumcision-Related Adverse Events Uncommon in Male Infants — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
May 13, 2014

Circumcision-Related Adverse Events Uncommon in Male Infants

By Kelly Young

The risk for adverse events following male circumcision increases markedly if the procedure is done after the first year of life, according to a large study in JAMA Pediatrics.

Using U.S. administrative claims data, researchers examined the incidence of circumcision-related adverse events among over 1 million infant boys who underwent circumcision (and over 1 million who did not). Adverse event rates were also calculated for older boys.

Among infants (younger than 1 year), less than 0.5% of those who were circumcised experienced an adverse event. Rates of adverse events increased with age at circumcision, reaching roughly 9% and 5% in boys aged 1–9 years and 10 years and older, respectively. The most common events were related to correctional procedures and bleeding.

The authors conclude: "Given the current debate about whether [male circumcision] should be delayed from infancy to adulthood for autonomy reasons, our results are timely and can help physicians counsel parents about circumcising their sons."

Reader Comments (8)

Joe Wilson Other Healthcare Professional

Circumcision should be referred to as Male Genital Mutilation. I never had an opinion about it and at most believed it was a harmless procedure. Today I believe this is procedure is an atrocity based on false epidemiological data and propagated for financial gain. Except for religious purposes (and then again I would wait until the boy is at age of consent) there is absolutely no benefit that outweighs the risks with the procedure.

sanjoy Physician, Internal Medicine, Hospital

The question is why this circumcision?Is circumcision really required or its done for religious practice?When it comes to Hindu religion the west shout non secular.

Richard Doehring MBBCh FRCPA Physician, Pathology, Diagnostic laboratory

It is way overdue that this archaic cultural practice cease to be dignified by description as a medical procedure. To perform it on anyone too young to give consent is child abuse, pure and simple.


The Adverse Events rate for males NOT circumcised is always zero. For those who are, it is always 100% as they foreskin is always lost. Ignoring that fact, the chances of a male ever needing a circumcision in his life are 1 in 16 667 or 0.006%. Your (very low) adverse events rate of 0.5% looks pretty bad. I trust physicians will be counseling parents not to circumcise, and themselves refusing to perform them.

Val Taylor FRCA, FANZCA Physician, Anesthesiology

This article fails to consider the potential risk of neurotoxicity associated with anesthesia in infancy. (I am assuming that some of the study population received general anaesthesia?) Surely this should be considered as an independent risk factor when counselling parents?


Important article


Seems to me 0.5% is also too high! and discussion supports no routine circumcision! rather than newborn procedure.

Robert Yufe Physician, Neurology, Toronto

The God of Abraham knew this over 5000 years ago.

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