Your questions on circumcision answered

As parents you have the right to decide what is in the best interests of your child.

The information contained in this website may help you make your decision. If you have any concerns or questions, talk to one of our doctors before making an appointment for this procedure.

About Circumcision

About Circumcision

Circumcision of infant boys has been practised for centuries for religious and cultural reasons. It involves the removal of the prepuce of the foreskin, which is the skin that covers the tip of the penis.
Some believe there are benefits such as cleanliness and reduced cancer risk. It also avoids the occasional need for it to be done when the child is older involving a general anaesthetic and significant postoperative discomfort.

Deciding whether to have your newborn son circumcised can be difficult. You will have to consider both the benefits and risks of circumcision. Other factors such as your culture, religion and personal preference will also affect your decision.

Please talk to our doctors if you have any concerns.


To make an appointment please call the Hillsborough Medical Centre during working hours.

09 625 7010

For emergencies after-hours please use the mobile numbers located on our contact details.

Circumcision FAQ

Are there any complications?

Both Dr Connell and Dr Russell are highly experienced having done over 5000 operations. This method has a very low rate of complications. Parents should notify the doctor beforehand of any family history of bleeding problems or if your baby has not had the Vitamin K injection at delivery. Occasionally there can be minor infection or bleeding. The amount of foreskin removed can vary. Longer term there occasionally can be narrowing of the urinary outlet or anaesthetic complications."

What is the best age for circumcision?

The ideal time is between 1 to 3 weeks of age but it can be done up to 3 months of age.

Is it painful?

The circumcision is done using a local anaesthetic injection and after giving paracetamol by mouth. The procedure is normally relatively quick with minimal discomfort and baby frequently settles quickly after a feed. Occasionally a further dose of paracetamol is required 4 to 6 hours later.

What after-care is required?

If your son is distressed following the procedure you can give him paracetamol. For babies 2-3 weeks of age, the dose is usually 1-2ml of paracetamol (120Mg/5mI) depending on their weight. The doctor will advise you of any change in dose. Your son can be bathed and changed normally. The Plastibell ring will come off by itself after 3 to 5 days leaving a narrow open area of skin which heals over naturally in about 1 week. You do not need to put any special creams or dressings on the penis but a small amount of vaseline may help if the skin sticks to the nappy. You can use either disposable or cloth nappies.

How is circumcision done?

There are many different methods used, but our research shows that the Plastibell device is one of the safest to use in infants under local anaesthetic. The Plastibell is a plastic ring that is fitted over the head of the penis under the foreskin. It is then firmly secured by a special tie so that no stitches or dressings are required. The remaining foreskin is then removed leaving a consistent length of foreskin. The Plastibell is designed so that the baby can urinate normally.

Are there any benefits from circumcision?

Studies have provided conflicting results. Most authorities say that the benefits of circumcision are not significant enough to recommend it as a routine procedure. Urine infection and some sexually transmitted infections are thought to be less common in circumcised boys. Cancer of the penis although rare is also less common in men circumcised as infants.


  • There is any significant bleeding
  • The ring slips back onto the penile shaft
  • The penis becomes increasingly red or swollen
  • The baby remains very unsettled
  • He has not urinated after 6—8 hours
  • He develops a fever

More Information:

For a detailed independent review of circumcision, please refer to the RACP positional statement (pdf), and their website

Our Doctors

Dr John Russell


I have worked in General Practice in Hillsborough since 1987. I enjoy the variety of General Practice and the close interaction with my patients and staff.I have further training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and spent 10 years delivering babies, many of whom are still patients. I have further training in minor surgery and also offer vasectomy and infant circumcision. I lead the GP College quality programme Cornerstone, for our clinic.Outside of work, I enjoy road cycling, gardening and catching the occasional trout. I am married to Judith and have 3 adult children.

Dr Ivan Connell


I grew up in Hillsborough and was a patient at the Hillsborough Medical Centre before studying medicine at the University of Otago in Dunedin and Wellington. Since my graduation I worked at Dunedin Hospital, then in London and Paris. I started as a GP at the Hillsborough Medical Centre in 1985.I practiced obstetrics until 2004, delivering more than 1000 babies. My General Practice includes performing surgical procedures including infant circumcision, in our fully equipped operating theatre. In addition to General Practice, I work as a Vein Specialist and have a Varicose Vein Clinic at the Ascot Hospital.I am married to Margaret and have a daughter. When not at work I enjoy golf, cooking, music and languages.

Contact Details


165 Hillsborough Road
Hillsborough, Auckland
New Zealand

Making an appointment

Work Hours
09 625 7010

Emergency After-hours Contact

Dr Russell
027 481 5744
Dr Connell
021 313 030

Surgery Hours

By appointment only

8:00am - 6:00pm
8:00am - 5:00pm
8:00am - 5:00pm
8:00am - 6:00pm
8:00am - 5:00pm
Sat / Sun