To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise

  • Leslie Ching, DO OMM Department, Oklahoma State University-College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Sarah Hall, DO Family Medicine Department, Oklahoma State University-College of Osteopathic Medicine


This review article takes an evidence-based approach in the discussion of circumcision. International and national statistics are described to give context to the practice. The article reviews preventative health benefits of circumcision. There is also a summary of the bioethical reasons for and against circumcision and a short discussion of the research on the physiologic impact of removing the foreskin on sexual health. Complications of the procedure are reviewed. We discuss when to refer to a urologist and care of the uncircumcised penis. In conclusion, there are medical and ethical reasons to support circumcision but also plausible reasons to oppose it. Similarly to the American Academy of Pediatrics 2012 guidelines, we advocate discussion of these issues with concerned parents and helping them to make a decision based on medical, ethical, religious, and cultural beliefs.

Review Articles