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Circumcision is Traumatic

Psychological Effects, Susan Blank, M.D.

Circumcision is Traumatic and results in extreme pain and significant increases in heart rate and level of blood stress hormone. Some infants do not cry because they go into shock from the overwhelming experience. Anesthetics, if they are used, do not eliminate the pain or the trauma. Long-term infant behavioral changes and disruptions in mother-child bonding due to circumcision have been observed. An MRI showed permanent changes to a circumcised infant’s brain.

Circumcision: 100 Known Complications and Risks:


Local Infections

staphylococcal infections, abscess of penis and scrotum, erysipelas, acute post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis, tetanus, myiasis

Systemic Infections

septicemia, Fournier’s gangrene

Surgical Complications

excessive skin removal, excessive residual skin, total denudation of the penis, urethral fistula, multiple pyogenic granulomas, subglandular stricture, scrotal trauma, Plastibell retention, pseudoparaphimosis, bivalving, necrosis/ischemia, amputation of the penis and glans, acute urinary retention, urine advancing in subcutaneous fascial planes, unilateral leg cyanosis, gastric rupture, pulmonary embolism, apnea and apparent life-threatening events, pneumothorax, chilling, erythema multiforme, hyperbilirubenemia (jaundice), myocardial injury, tachycardia, heart failure, hematoma, priapism, penodynia, swelling and blistering from topical anesthesia, bruising from injected anesthesia

Delayed Complications

meatitis, meatal ulcers, meatal stenosis, hidden/buried penis, iatrogenic phimosis, preputial stenosis, penile size change, penile rotation, adhesions, skin bridges, keloid formation, subcutaneous granuloma, epidermal cyst, penile edema, penile cutaneous horns, hair strangulation, amputation neuroma, paraphimosis, latex allergy and sensitization, penile chordee, balanitis

Psychological Complications

For the infant: disruption of the child-mother bond/insecure emotional attachment, deteriorated feeding, changed activity level, changed sleep patterns, irritability, emotional withdrawal, extended crying, post-traumatic stress disorder, changed mother-infant interaction, maternal distress and regret, increased pain response

For the man: alexithymia, autism, hyperactivity, post-traumatic stress disorder, low self-esteem, resentment, avoidance of intimacy, depression, anger, shame, distrust, feeling mutilated/damaged/inferior, adverse effects on relationships with parents, compulsive behaviors, feeling betrayed by medical profession

Human Rights:

violation of the right to an intact body

Sexual Complications

erectile dysfunction, decreased penile sensitivity, dry and/or keratinized glans, decreased sexual satisfaction, orgasm difficulties, decreased female satisfaction, vaginal dryness, requirement of lubricants, painful intercourse, premature ejaculation, increased masturbation


Signed informed consent is required before circumcision. It means that a doctor must make every effort to be sure the patient (or, in this case, the parent) understands the purpose, benefits, risks, and other options of circumcision. Clearly, parents who sign informed consent forms prior to circumcision are not truly and completely informed. Parents don’t know what they don’t know.  Doctors fail to meet their responsibilities.


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