AAP Revises Guidelines in Favor of Circumcision
American Academy of Pediatrics has revised its policy on male circumcision showing more support for the procedure, yet stopping short of recommending routine circumcision.
The academy, the leading U.S. pediatric group, now says the health benefits of circumcision outweigh the risks and that families who choose to circumcise their baby boys should be able to.
"The tone of the policy certainly shifts somewhat in favor of circumcision in that it recognizes that there are clear medical benefits that outweigh the risks of the procedure, and that those benefits are sufficient to justify coverage by insurance," said Dr. Douglas Diekema, a member of the academy's circumcision task force.
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology are backing up the AAP. Why would a bunch of gynecologists endorse a policy on penises?
Male circumcision is a common procedure, generally performed during the newborn period in the United States. In 2007, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) formed a multidisciplinary task force of AAP members and other stakeholders to evaluate the recent evidence on male circumcision and update the Academy’s 1999 recommendations in this area. Evaluation of current evidence indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks and that the procedure’s benefits justify access to this procedure for families who choose it. Specific benefits identified included prevention of urinary tract infections, penile cancer, and transmission of some sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has endorsed this statement.
- About 117 boys die each year in the United States as a result of their circumcision, most from infections or blood loss.
- The current U.S. circumcision rate is steadily declining. In 2010 it was 32%. That’s a huge drop from 56% in 2006 and 65% in 2002.
- Most physicians do not have their sons circumcised. Why not, if circumcision is medically advisable? Since most have performed the surgery as part of their training, they are the ones who should know more about its consequences than anyone else.
- Physicians are biased toward circumcision. Circumcised doctors are 5 times more likely to recommend circumcision to patients.
- Contrary to frequent claims, infants do feel pain as intensely as adults, and very possibly even more.
- Circumcision regularly removes a shocking 3/4 of the penis’ sensitivitythrough the removal of the ridged band, foreskin “lips,” and most often the entire frenulum.
- Anesthesia is used in only 45% of circumcisions; the type of anesthetic varies.7 The most effective method does not eliminate all pain, and the most common type used, a topical creme, does almost nothing to reduce it. In fact, a major clinical test of the various types of anesthetics, on actual infants, was halted for humane reasons because of the intense pain.
- As adults, men circumcised in infancy are almost 5 times more likely to be diagnosed with erectile dysfunction (ED).
- Circumcised men and boys are 60% more likely to suffer fromalexithymia, a psychological trait disorder which causes difficulty in identifying and expressing one’s emotions, which can lead to difficulties in sustaining relationships.
- The complication rate for circumcision varies from 3 to 6 percent. The average male will have more health problems from being circumcised than from being left alone.
- Circumcision has never been proven to be effective in either reducing or treating cervical cancer, penile cancer, urinary tract infections, or sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS.
- Not one medical association in America, or anywhere else in the world, actually recommends infant circumcision; some even recommend against it.At no time in its 75 years has the American Academy of Pediatrics ever recommended infant circumcision.