• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of canmedajCMAJ Information for AuthorsCMAJ Home Page
Can Med Assoc J. Sep 10, 1966; 95(11): 576–581.
PMCID: PMC1936659

The Problem of Routine Circumcision

Abstract

One hundred male infants were studied at the Kingston General Hospital, Kingston, Ontario, to determine the incidence and complications of routine circumcision. The parents were also interviewed concerning the reason for operation.

In these 100 infants, complications, usually minor, were very common, and included hemorrhage (35), meatal ulcers (31), infection (eight), phimosis (one) and meatal stenosis.

The reasons given for operation were prophylactic—to avoid the psychological trauma of later operations for infection, phimosis and “troubles” (40), cleanliness (11) and phimosis (four). The remaining cases were for social and other non-medical reasons. Attitudes of parents and physicians regarding circumcision varied from firm belief in its value to a casual approach. One-half of the babies had partial circumcisions, confirming previous suspicions that non-Jewish males frequently had partial operations. Partial operations do not always guarantee cleanliness and probably do not eliminate the risk of penile carcinoma in all cases, if smegma is carcinogenic. Routine circumcisions spare a few children psychologically traumatic operations at a later date and relieve parents of anxiety about the future of the uncircumcised child. This should be balanced against the complications which, although usually minor, may occasionally be serious.

Between 1961 and 1962, at the Kingston General Hospital, 349 (48%) of 727 male newborn babies were routinely circumcised.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.2M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • GAIRDNER D. The fate of the foreskin, a study of circumcision. Br Med J. 1949 Dec 24;2(4642):1433–illust. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • HOVSEPIAN D. The pros and cons of routine circumcision. Calif Med. 1951 Nov;75(5):359–361. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • SPEERT H. Circumcision of the newborn; an appraisal of its present status. Obstet Gynecol. 1953 Aug;2(2):164–172. [PubMed]
  • WEISS C. ROUTINE NON-RITUAL CIRCUMCISION IN INFANCY. A NEW LOOK AT AN OLD OPERATION. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 1964 Sep;3:560–563. [PubMed]
  • MANSON WW. Circumcision of the newborn; an exact technique for the use of the Gomco clamp. U S Armed Forces Med J. 1950 May;1(5):586–589. [PubMed]
  • WYNDER EL, LICKLIDER SD. The question of circumcision. Cancer. 1960 May-Jun;13:442–445. [PubMed]
  • DUNN JE, Jr, BUELL P. Association of cervical cancer with circumcision of sexual partner. J Natl Cancer Inst. 1959 Apr;22(4):749–764. [PubMed]
  • Doll Richard, Hadley AL. Fate of the Foreskin. Br Med J. 1950 Jan 21;1(4646):b181–181. [PMC free article]
  • CARNE S. Incidence of tonsillectomy, circumcision, and appendicectomy among R.A.F. recruits. Br Med J. 1956 Jul 7;2(4983):19–23. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • KMET J, DAMJANOVSKI L, STUCIN M, BONTA S, CAKMAKOV A. CIRCUMCISION AND CARCINOMA COLLI UTERI IN MACEDONIA, YUGOSLAVIA. RESULTS FROM A FIELD STUDY. I. INCIDENCE OF MALIGNANT AND PREMALIGNANT CONDITIONS. Br J Cancer. 1963 Sep;17:391–399. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • WYNDER EL, CORNFIELD J, SCHROFF PD, DORAISWAMI KR. A study of environmental factors in carcinoma of the cervix. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1954 Oct;68(4):1016–1052. [PubMed]
  • DENNIS EJ, HEINS HC, LATHAM E, MCIVER FA, PRATT-THOMAS HR. The carcinogenic effect of human smegma: an experimental study. I. Preliminary report. Cancer. 1956 Jul-Aug;9(4):671–680. [PubMed]
  • REDDY DG, BARUAH IK. Carcinogenic action of human smegma. Arch Pathol. 1963 Apr;75:414–420. [PubMed]
  • RIVEROS M, LEBRON RF. Geographical pathology of cancer of the penis. Cancer. 1963 Jun;16:798–811. [PubMed]
  • MOELLER ER, MOSS EM. Circumcision of the newborn infant in the delivery room. U S Armed Forces Med J. 1955 Mar;6(3):336–339. [PubMed]
  • MACCARTHY D, DOUGLAS JWB, MOGFORD C. Circumcision in a national sample of 4-year-old children. Br Med J. 1952 Oct 4;2(4787):755–756. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • BERRY CD, Jr, CROSS RR., Jr Urethral meatal caliber in circumcised and uncircumcised males. AMA J Dis Child. 1956 Aug;92(2):152–156. [PubMed]
  • ELLIOTT RI. ON THE PREVENTION OF CARCINOMA OF THE CERVIX. Lancet. 1964 Feb 1;1(7327):231–235. [PubMed]
  • Terris M, Oalmann MC. Carcinoma of the cervix: an epidemiologic study. JAMA. 1960 Dec 3;174(14):1847–1851. [PubMed]
  • AITKEN-SWAN J, BAIRD D. CIRCUMCISION AND CANCER OF THE CERVIX. Br J Cancer. 1965 Jun;19:217–227. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • SHAW RA, ROBERTSON WO. ROUTINE CIRCUMCISION. A PROBLEM FOR MEDICINE. Am J Dis Child. 1963 Aug;106:216–217. [PubMed]

Articles from Canadian Medical Association Journal are provided here courtesy of Canadian Medical Association

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • MedGen
    MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...