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Timing Influences Risk of Complications From Circumcision: Study

Infant boys fare well, researchers say, but older ones have up to 20-fold increase in complications
(*this news item will not be available after 08/10/2014)

By Robert Preidt
Monday, May 12, 2014

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MONDAY, May 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Circumcision during infancy has a low rate of complications, but the risk becomes much higher as boys get older, a new study reports.

American researchers analyzed data from 1.4 million boys who underwent circumcision, about 93 percent of whom were circumcised as newborns.

The overall rate of 41 possible complications was less than 0.5 percent. But the risk of complications was 20 times higher for those circumcised between ages 1 to 9, and 10 times higher for those circumcised at age 10 or older, than for boys circumcised when they were less than a year old, the researchers found.

The study, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle, was published online May 12 in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

"Given the current debate about whether [circumcision] should be delayed from infancy to adulthood for autonomy reasons, our results are timely and can help physicians counsel parents about circumcising their sons," concluded study author Charbel El Bcheraoui and colleagues.

There is ongoing discussion about whether circumcision should be recommended as a public health measure because research suggests it protects against infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

An updated American Academy of Pediatrics guideline says the benefits of circumcision justify providing the procedure if parents want to have it done.

SOURCE: JAMA Pediatrics, news release, May 12, 2014

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Page last updated on 13 May 2014