A boy reacts while being circumcised Picture:file

Male circumcision offers a lifetime of medical and health benefits provided it is done safely and in the best possible clinical environment, advises a top urologist.

“As much as circumcision is a simple procedure, things can go wrong and the consequences can be devastating. This is why it is best undertaken safely in a clinical environment by medical professionals,” said Dr Kabo Ijane from The Urology Hospital, Pretoria.

About 70 deaths are reported in South Africa annually while thousands more are hospitalised for complications due to unsafe circumcisions.

“Just one death due to unsafe circumcisions is one too many. The process should be safe to prevent fatality, injury, trauma or mental and physical scarring” said Ijane.

The health benefits of circumcision include lowering the risk of HIV transmission by about 60% and better hygiene in circumcised men and their partners. The World Health Organisation recommends that male circumcision should be considered in countries with high HIV infection. Research also indicates that male circumcision may have a positive effect on the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and cervical cancer in women.

Ijane said circumcision at The Urology Hospital is a day procedure, lasting between three to five hours from arrival to discharge. It is done under general anaesthetic, with full healing within about five to 10 days for children and two to three weeks for adults. The procedure is done using modern methods which include using synthetic glue instead of stiches which means less scarring, less pain and less trauma.