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Adult circumcision

Circumcision is an operation to remove the foreskin in men. Circumcision is usually performed in adults when the foreskin is too tight, if the skin is abnormal, if sex is painful, or if you are experiencing recurrent infections. 

Foreskin problems can be painful and can have an impact on your well-being and sex life. The London Clinic’s leading urology surgeons are experts in circumcision and the sensitive management of penile problems. 

The surgeons operate in state-of-the-art theatres, using the latest technology. They are assisted by an expert multidisciplinary team that will support you from your first consultation, during your procedure, and throughout your recovery.

What is circumcision?

Circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin. The foreskin is the flexible fold of skin covering the end of the penis. It can usually be pulled back to show the glans and the urethral opening.

Children may be circumcised for religious reasons. In adults, a specialist may recommend circumcision if your foreskin is too tight, if it keeps getting infected, or if there are problems with the skin in the area. 

Who can benefit from circumcision?

Most circumcisions in adults are carried out for medical reasons. These include:

  • Phimosis: The foreskin is too tight and cannot be pulled back. This can make sex painful and can also sometimes cause bleeding
  • Paraphimosis: The foreskin is tight and is stuck in the retracted position, causing pain and swelling
  • Balanitis: There is recurrent infection of the foreskin and the end of the penis
  • Balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO): An uncommon condition in which the foreskin becomes white, thickened, and difficult to pull back
  • Cancer of the penis.

Circumcision can also reduce HIV risk in heterosexual men. 

Treatment options

Antibiotics and careful hygiene can treat and prevent balanitis, and steroid creams may improve phimosis. For cancer and BXO, circumcision is the only treatment. However, for other conditions, your surgeon may recommend a dorsal slit operation or a preputioplasty as an alternative. 

The London Clinic’s urologists will listen to your concerns and provide expert assessment and individual advice so that you can get the best treatment for your problem. 

Circumcision consultation at The London Clinic

The urologists will assess and advise you in The London Clinic's comfortable, private, and well-equipped consulting rooms. They will take a detailed medical history, examine your penis, and ask about the impact your symptoms have on your health, wellbeing, and sex life. 

Your consultant may arrange tests and investigations. These may include:

  • Blood tests 
  • Swabs to check for infection

In consultation with you, your urologist will then plan your admission for circumcision and advise you about any preparation needed. They will take the time to answer all your questions.

Circumcision surgery at The London Clinic

The urology surgeons at The London Clinic perform circumcision under general anaesthetic. However, a local anaesthetic to numb your penis or spinal anaesthetic are also available. It is usually a day-case procedure, so you will not need to stay in hospital overnight.

The surgeon will use a scalpel or scissors to carefully cut away the foreskin from behind the head of the penis. They will seal any bleeding blood vessels using heat. Finally, they will stitch together the skin edges using fine, dissolvable stitches that will not need to be removed.

Recovery and aftercare

You will usually be able to go home on the day of your surgery. However, some people will need to stay overnight, so that the team can monitor their recovery.

The London Clinic’s staff will provide support, give effective painkillers, advise you about your recovery, and arrange follow-up to assess your progress. 

Following circumcision, you'll have discomfort and swelling around the wound and the penile head for 3-4 days. It takes around ten days for your penis to heal. During this time, t’s a good idea to wear loose, light, comfortable clothing to prevent rubbing and irritation. Applying a little Vaseline to the end of your penis can prevent the wound from sticking to your clothes or underwear. 

It’s sensible to take at least one week off work to rest and recover, particularly if you work in a physically demanding role. You should refrain from sex for at least four weeks. 

The team will always be on hand if you have any problems, worries, or questions. It's particularly important to contact The London Clinic if you develop a fever if your penis is red and inflamed if there’s bleeding, if it’s getting more painful, or if it hurts to pass urine.

Frequently asked questions

Can I drive after circumcision? 

You should not drive after your anaesthetic. It's essential to get someone to pick you up from the clinic and escort you home. The anaesthetic can still have an impact for 48 hours, and following this, the pain in your penis could affect your ability to drive and respond effectively. Discuss any concerns with your consultant.

What are the complications of circumcision?

All surgery has risks. The London Clinic works hard to reduce complications and ensure your healthy recovery. Complications followingcircumcisions are uncommon; bleeding and infection are the most frequent problems. More rare complications include a reduction in sensation, scar tenderness, and the need for further surgery to remove more skin.

Will my penis lose sensation?

Research on this question is mixed. Many studies show no change in sensation. However, some men report altered sexual sensation. This could be due to pre-existing skin conditions like BXO, psychological issues, or as a result of the operation. The great majority of men do not experience sensation changes.

Why choose The London Clinic?

The London Clinic is dedicated to providing the best, personalised healthcare with over 600 world-renowned consultants available to offer informed health advice and treatment.

Spanning Harley Street and Devonshire Place, The London Clinic is situated in the heart of London’s internationally-known medical district. This central location, together with state-of-the art technologies and facilities that are not widely available in other hospitals, makes The London Clinic the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients every year.

The London Clinic is an HTA licensed and JACIE accredited cancer centre with an ‘Excellent’ MacMillan Quality Environment Mark and with access to a Level 3 intensive care unit.

Offering affordable and competitive self-pay packages and expert support from Clinical Nurse Specialists and our specialised multidisciplinary team, over 98% of our patients said they would recommend The London Clinic to their friends and families.

Treatment cost

The London Clinic offers affordable, competitive self-pay packages for certain treatments. An All-Inclusive Package for this treatment is available from £1,895.

Patients have the option to spread the cost of treatment with Chrysalis Finance.

Please call +44 (0)20 3613 7502 to speak to our helpful team to find out more and to book an appointment.

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