Anesthetic for Circumcision Urged

News  Reuters. Tuesday, 23 December 1997.

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Male newborns should receive an anesthetic before undergoing circumcision, according to a report published this week in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

The study was ended early for ethical reasons because part way through the trial it became obvious that infants who received anesthetic injections experienced much less discomfort and distress during and after circumcision. Their heart rates were lower and they cried less than babies who received either anesthetic creams or a placebo (inactive) cream before the procedure.

Of the 52 babies studied, two newborns in the placebo group became so distressed following circumcision that they were choking and had a hard time breathing.

However, researchers led by Dr. Janice Lander from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, note that babies who received any of the anesthetics studied fared better than those who did not receive anesthetic.

The researchers report that the ring block type of anesthesia proved the most effective. This involves injections of an anesthetic in a band or ring around the midpoint of the penis shaft. The other, less effective injection method – dorsal penile nerve block – calls for injections at two sites on the penis.

Lander and her colleagues note that unlike the other methods, ring block provided anesthesia throughout all stages of the procedure, including foreskin separation and removal.

The study authors note that many newborn boys who are circumcised in North America do not receive an anesthetic – numbers range from 64% to 96% in some areas. They recommend that this practice should change. It is true that as adults, these newborns will not be able to retrieve the memory of their surgery and distress. This fact, however, cannot justify the practice of performing surgery without anesthetic.

SOURCE: The Journal of the American Medical Association (1997;278:2157-2162).


Back to News 1997 Back to the News 1997 page.

The Circumcision Information and Resource Pages are a not-for-profit educational resource and library. IntactiWiki hosts this website but is not responsible for the content of this site. CIRP makes documents available without charge, for informational purposes only. The contents of this site are not intended to replace the professional medical or legal advice of a licensed practitioner.

Top  © 1996-2024 | Filetree | Please visit our sponsor and host: External link IntactiWiki.