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Infant Circumcision Produces Less Problems

Update Date: May 12, 2014 08:44 PM EDT

New research reveals low rates of negative outcomes in early male circumcision.  However, the risk was 10 to 20 times higher when boys are circumcised after the first year of life.

Male circumcision has been widely debated as whether it should be considered a public health action as the procedure has been linked to lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases. However, a large part of the debate circles around the rate of adverse events.

Lead researcher Charbel El Bcheraoui, Ph.D., of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues, concentrated on 41 possible adverse events of male circumcision by using literature reviews and medical billing codes. The study involved data from a large administrative claims data set and records were available for about 1.4 million circumcised males (93.3 percent as newborns).

The findings revealed that the rate of total adverse events from male circumcision was less than 0.5 percent. Researchers noted that the rates of potentially severe adverse events adverse events from male circumcision ranged from 0.76 per million circumcisions for stricture of the male genital organs to 703.23 per million for mending incomplete circumcisions.

Researchers also found that the incidence of probably adverse events was 20 times greater for boys circumcised at age one to nine years and ten times greater for those circumcised at ten years or older.

"Given the current debate about whether MC should be delayed from infancy to adulthood for autonomy reasons, our results are timely and can help physicians counsel parents about circumcising their sons," researcher concluded.

The findings were published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics

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