Complications of traditional male circumcision

Annals of Tropical Paediatrics: International Child Health, Volume 19, Issue 1: Pages 113-117, 1 March 1999.

Ahmed A., Mbibi N.H., Dawam D., Kalayi G.D.

Department of Surgery, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria.


The complications of traditional male circumcision were studied in 48 boys seen between January 1981 and December 1995. Their ages ranged from 3 days to 7 years (mean: 4 years). Haemorrhage, the commonest complication, was seen in 25 (52%) and infection in ten; one child had amputation of the penis. Other complications included meatal stenosis and urethro-cutaneous fistula. Sixty-four per cent of those with haemorrhage were neonates and their haemoglobin levels ranged between 6 and 15 g/dl. Three required blood transfusion, seven ligation of bleeding vessels and two required both. Overall, 21 patients required surgery and the average duration of hospital stay was 2-8 days. Most complications were seen between 1991 and 1995 when surgical fees had been introduced and the number of boys circumcised in our hospital decreased. We advocate the provision of adequate and safe facilities to cope with the increasing demand forcircumcision in our society.


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