The scar left by circumcision can be a visual nuisance, a cause of irritation during intercourse and sometimes the site of penile cancer. The American Medical Association considers circumcision nontherapeutic, and the American Academy of Pediatrics holds that existing scientific data are insufficient to recommend routine neonatal circumcision. The British Medical Society condemns the practice and takes the view that no child should be subject to genital surgery to remove the foreskin until he reaches the age of consent.
Surgical reconstruction of the foreskin (prepuce) in circumcised males has become an accepted medical procedure, both to remove the circumcision scar and to increase sexual sensation. In a paper in The Journal of Sex Research (Greer M, Mohl P, Sheley, K, JournSexRes, Vol. 18, No. 4, 324-330, 1982), a team of surgeons did extensive psychological screenings on 11 patients before and after surgery and all found results of the operation "pleasing and gratifying. Most have reported increased glanular sensitivity."
Some scarring around the penis just below the head is normal after circumcision. The type of scar is a result of the method of circumcision used. Sometimes the scar can be darker than surrounding skin. Ineptly performed circumcision can lead to excessive scarring and deformities of the penis. In some instances, intercourse can irritate the scar.
Men also have used various creams and silicone scar pads to make their scars fade.
A circumcision scar can involve more than aesthetics. Sometimes penile cancer develops on or around the scar. Two pathologists who studied complications of circumcision reported that tissue analysis of the scar revealed "amputation neuromas," a tumor or mass growing on the ends of amputated nerve fibers that can cause pain, as well as a "bulbous collection of variably-sized neurites" (nerve endings).
Because of mounting evidence that circumcision not only reduces sexual sensation, but also may cause lifelong sexual and emotional harm, the British Medical Association determined in 2006 that "this surgical procedure (circumcision) has medical and psychological risks."
Among those risks are necrotizing fasciitis ("flesh-eating bug"), cellulitis, phimosis (tightness or constriction of the orifice of the prepuce, urinary fistulas (abnormal passages in the urinary tract) and impotence.
Some have argued that circumcision predisposes the infant male's brain to violence and has a negative effect on maternal bonding and trust. The British Journal of Urology (Cold CJ, Taylor JR, The prepuce, Vol. 83, Suppl.1:34-44, January 1999) recommends that circumcision be avoided and that "removal of normal genital anatomy in children and infants should be deferred until the individual can make an informed decision."
In the same article, Cold and Taylor challenge the prevailing medical belief in the United States that circumcision helps to prevent spread of diseases such as AIDS by not providing a skin fold where bacteria can accumulate. Calling this belief "flawed," the authors note that "the aggressive circumcision campaign in the USA has not prevented sexually transmitted infections, including HIV." Therefore the accumulation of flora in the prepuce "should be understood as normal mucosal immune cells, rather than a pathological entity requiring excision."
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