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Wellington Children's Hospital

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When you are born the skin of the foreskin is attached to the head of the penis with a layer of tissue. This layer gradually goes away which then allows the foreskin to retract. By age 4 years about 50% of boys have a retractile foreskin. In New Zealand only about 5-10% of boys have social circumcisions done (i.e. without a medical indication).
Some boys will get an infection in the foreskin (balanitis) and this can lead to scarring of the foreskin (phimosis). In this case, when you go to pull the foreskin back, there is a tight band of scar tissue at the opening of the foreskin. This is treated with steroid cream for 4-6 weeks (once the infection has settled) and the phimosis usually resolves. If it does not then a circumcision is recommended.
In a circumcision the spare foreskin is trimmed off to expose the head of the penis (glans). Dissolvable sutures are placed to keep the skin in the right place. This is usually done as a daystay case under general anaesthetic.
Unfortunately, social or cultural circumcisions are not funded by the Ministry of Health, and cannot therefore be performed.

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This page was last updated at 1:15PM on October 2, 2017.