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Adult Circumcision: Before Your Surgery

What is circumcision?

Circumcision is surgery to remove the skin that covers the head of the penis (the foreskin). Your doctor will remove the foreskin. You will have some small stitches. They will dissolve on their own. You will likely go home the same day as the surgery.

You may have the surgery because you can't roll back your foreskin. This is called phimosis. Or you may need the surgery because your foreskin is stuck behind the penis head. This is called paraphimosis. After surgery, these problems will go away.

This surgery may also be done for other reasons.

Most people are able to go back to work, school, or their normal routines after a few days. But healing may take several weeks or longer, depending on how the procedure was done.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia and pain medicine will make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your surgery. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your surgery. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your surgery may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of surgery, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Follow your doctor's instructions about when to bathe or shower before your surgery. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the hospital, surgery centre, or doctor's office

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The area for surgery may just be numbed. Or you may get more sedation. You will be kept comfortable and safe.
  • The surgery usually takes less than 1 hour, but you may be there for several hours. This includes the time to check in and the time for recovery after the surgery.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your surgery.
  • You become ill before the surgery (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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