Circumcision: Newborn with a Plastibell

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A circumcision (sir cum SI zhun) is surgery to remove the foreskin (extra skin) from around the end of the penis (Picture 1).

The circumcision is usually done in the doctor’s office. Your visit will take about one and one-half hours in all. Your baby will be awake and will have an injection (a shot) at the base of the penis to numb the area. He may also be given a sugar water solution (Sweet-ease®) by mouth to prevent discomfort.

What to Expect after Surgery

diagram of circumcised and uncircumcised penis

The penis will have a plastic ring around it. The ring will fall off on its own in 5 to 7 days. There are no stitches with this procedure.

  • There may be some swelling that will go away in about 4 days.
  • There may be bruising in the area.

Home Care after Surgery

  • Change diapers often. Rinse the area with water. Avoid using commercial diaper wipes.
  • Bathing: If your baby still has his umbilical cord attached, give him sponge baths after surgery. Gently clean the penis with soap and water 2 to 4 times every day until the ring comes off and the penis is healed. If your baby’s umbilical cord has already fallen off, give the baby a bath every day, beginning the morning after surgery, until the ring comes off.
  • Your baby’s doctor may tell you to apply antibiotic ointment or Vaseline to the tip of the penis with each diaper change until the ring falls off.
  • There are NO restrictions for the use of car seats. Your child should ride in his car seat as usual.

Pain Medicine

Your child’s doctor has recommended acetaminophen, such as Tylenol®.

Follow the doctor’s orders for giving this medicine for pain:

  • Do not give more than 5 doses of this medicine in a 24-hour period unless ordered by your child’s doctor.
  • Read the label each time before you give your child any medicine.
  • If the medicine is a liquid, always use a measuring device to get the exact dose. Do not measure liquid medicines in kitchen spoons.
  • Store all medicine out of the reach of children.
  • If your child or someone else takes too much of this medicine, first call the Central Ohio Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. They will tell you what to do.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor if your child has:

  • Severe pain that does not get better with pain medicine.
  • Fever over 101 degrees F.
  • More than a few drops of blood on the penis or diaper.
  • Redness that starts to spread from the tip up the penis toward the abdomen (belly).
  • Pus-like drainage or foul odor from the penis.
  • Fewer wet diapers than before.
  • A plastic ring that stays on more than 10 days or falls off in less than 3 days.
  • The Plastic ring slips down the penis past the head of the penis.
  • The head of the penis is blue or black.


  • If your child’s circumcision was done by Pediatric Surgery, a nurse from surgery clinic will call you in 2 to 4 weeks.
  • If your child’s circumcision was done by Urology, your child will come back for an appointment.
  • If your child’s circumcision was done by a Neonatologist, please follow up with your child’s pediatrician for questions/concerns.

If you have any questions or your child is having problems, call:

  • For Pediatric General Surgery call 614-722-3900.
  • For Urology call 614-722-6630 or the hospital operator at 722-2000 if after hours.
  • Call your child’s pediatrician.


In an emergency, call 911.

Circumcision: Newborn With a Plastibell (PDF)

HH-I-279 6/07 Revised 9/17 Copyright 2007, Nationwide Children’s Hospital