Pediatric Group Says Circumcision Benefits Outweigh Risks

The new stand by the American Academy of Pediatrics could affect how doctors view the procedure.


The American Academy of Pediatrics has revised its stand on the circumcision of baby boys, saying new studies indicate that the benefits of the procedure now appear to outweigh the risks.

Though stopping short of actually recommending the routine circumcision of infant males, the leading pediatrician group now says that decision should be left up to parents. The group previously had taken a neutral stand on the issue.

As the leading pediatric group in the country, the AAP’s positions on health care issues influences pediatricians and can sway insurance companies on which procedures they will cover.

The AAP announced its new position on circumcision in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, saying circumcision appears to reduce the risk of HIV and other diseases, including cancer.

“Evaluation of current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks; furthermore, the benefits of newborn male circumcision justify access to this procedure for families who choose it.

Specific benefits from male circumcision were identified for the prevention of urinary tract infections, acquisition of HIV, transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, and penile cancer. Male circumcision does not appear to adversely affect penile sexual function/sensitivity or sexual satisfaction.”

The AAP’s announcement comes at a time when circumcision, a procedure in which the foreskin is removed from the penis, appears to be falling into disfavor among parents. Circumcision rates in the U.S. have fallen in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Stan Barnes September 01, 2012 at 12:01 AM
When are American doctors going to start respecting a male's right to bodily autonomy? Medical ethics requires doctors to use effective, non-invasive methods of prevention and treatment first before they use surgery. Because there are effective, non-invasive ways to prevent and treat problems related to a male's foreskin, it is unethical and inappropriate for a doctor to circumcise a healthy boy.
Stan Barnes September 01, 2012 at 12:07 AM
The idea that male circumcision has medical benefits is based on the false cultural belief that a male's foreskin has no value or function. People is cultures that cut the genitals of children devalue the parts they cut off. Many Americans, including members of the AAP task force, devalue normal, intact male genitals in the same way many Africans devalue normal, intact female genitals.
Sandy D'Esopo September 01, 2012 at 07:28 PM
The AAP's failure to endorse circumcision outright reveals its quiet recognition that the surgery falls short of being compelling. That "the risks outweigh the benefits" may ignore later complications, such as urinary tract infections from lubricants that circumcised adolescents are forced to use, and bladder troubles caused by meatal stenosis, which is often undiagnosed until later in life. I know of both these cases in a boy and a man. I can't understand why the AAP also chose to ignore the function of the foreskin. HIghly enervated, it is much more than a mere sheath. Surgery performed for less than a compelling reason is not just bad medicine; it violates the physician's credo: First, do no harm.
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