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J Pediatr Surg. 2001 Jul;36(7):1047-9.

Gomco circumcision: When is it safe?

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State University of New York HSC at Brooklyn, Brooklyn, NY, USA.



The Gomco clamp is used most commonly for neonatal circumcisions in the United States with reported rates of complication as low as 0.2%. Often, however, circumcision is delayed beyond the neonatal period because of illness, parental concerns, or physician bias with patients presenting for elective circumcision in the first few years of life. In neonates and infants, the "bloodless" Gomco circumcision is cost effective, can be performed with minimal anesthesia and gives good cosmetic results. However, the optimal age at which to perform this procedure remains controversial. We reviewed the experience of one pediatric urologist with Gomco circumcision in neonates and infants to determine the optimal age at which this procedure should be performed.


One hundred thirty patients underwent Gomco circumcision by 1 pediatric urologist between 1996 and 1998. Ninety-eight patients underwent Gomco circumcision as neonates or during early infancy at a mean age of 17 days (range, 4 to 30 days). Thirty-two patients underwent circumcision after early infancy at a mean age of 6.5 months (range, 90 days to 8.5 months). All patients younger than 1 month of age underwent circumcision while fully awake using a dorsal penile nerve block. Patients greater than 3 months of age were circumcised under general anesthesia. Gomco circumcision was performed using 1.1- to 2.1-cm bells. Patients were assessed with regard to outcome.


None of the 98 patients in the early infancy group had postcircumcision complications. Of the 32 patients in the older group, 12 (30%) had postoperative bleeding requiring suture repair or fulguration. The skin edges separated in 2 patients, 1 less than 1 month of age and 1 in the older group. Neither patient required further intervention, and both healed spontaneously. There was no correlation between size of clamp and development of complications.


Although safe and effective for circumcision in the neonatal period and in early infancy, use of the Gomco clamp for circumcision beyond early infancy (3 months of age) has substantial morbidity, and alternative methods of circumcision should be sought.

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