“ Address: Leeds / West Yorkshire / LS8 5BS / England „
Ashton View Medical Centre hosts the Leeds Circumcision Service this service performs circumcisions on baby boys up to 12 weeks of age for religious and cultural reasons. To access this service patients must be registered with a Leeds GP. If you are then the service is free.
What is it?
Male circumcision is the removal of some or all of the foreskin (prepuce) from the penis The word "circumcision" comes from Latin circum (meaning "around") and cædere (meaning "to cut"). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), global estimates suggest that 30% of males are circumcised, of whom 68% are Muslim.The prevalence of circumcision varies mostly with religious affiliation, and sometimes culture. Most circumcisions are performed during adolescence for cultural or religious reasons
This is a review of Leeds circumcision service which takes place at Ashton view medical centre. I don't want to debate the ethics of circumcision, that is perhaps a thread for the discussion board I just want to give my personal experience of the service as I would have a liked to have read a review like this from a real mum before using the service but nothing was available.
The decision had been made even before my son was born at the 20 week scan when we found out we were having a boy shortly afterwards my husband pipes up he'll have to be circumcised you know. OK I said well look into it. He insisted that it was very important for religious reasons to him so I found it hard to object as he felt so strongly. It further emerged that many of the few males in my family had in fact been circumcised for various reasons at various ages. I asked my husband who did his and was horrified when he told me it was the local Barber but he said that was normal at the time in his culture and he performed the procedure on all the boys in his village. I was going to insure my son had it done in a proper medical setting performed by a doctor as you wouldn't go to the doctors for a haircut would you.
Its quite hard to find accurate and useful information about the procedure itself and where it can be performed. The Internet is full of horror stories and ethical debate about the subject. I personally found it quite alarming and was worried sick about putting my poor newborn baby through this. I never did manage to find where it could be performed from the Internet. But decided after all my research I would have the procedure performed on my son at these age rather than when he was older.
Finding the service
We found out about the Leeds circumcision service at the hospital shortly after he'd been delivered we asked a midwife how we could go about getting him circumcised. The midwife took us over to a poster on the wall written in various languages but not in English. She said to my husband do you understand any of these and thankfully one was written in Arabic his first language otherwise I have no idea how your meant to know about this service. I can't understand why it wasn't in English. He took the phone number and after been home a few days I rang up. Basically what happens is you refer your son for the service yourself. They send you a form to fill your son details on including name, date of birth and any relevant past medical history you send it back and then if everything is OK you'll be sent an appointment for the procedure to be done when he reaches 3 months of age.
The procedure is performed by a Dr Wong a GP at Ashton view medical practise. The practise is situated off the main road in Harehills in Leeds about 5 minutes drive from the city centre and is easy to find. Parking can be problem as much of the area is permit holders only as its close to the hospital so I ended up making a few U turns in the road before I finally managed to park on the main road across from the surgery. Inside the surgery you wait in a large waiting room with lots of new parents and baby boys. Usually 5 boys per session. Firstly we were seen by a nurse who told us about the procedure and check we wanted to go ahead and then applied the topical anaesthetic cream to my sons penis as well as giving a 2.5 ml dose of children paracetmol. These are given to reduce pain but the nurse warns you that your baby will still feel it and usually need to restrained. They leave at least 30 mins for it to work. We then saw Dr Wong, he was very professional and explained the procedure in great detail and drew a diagram of what he was going to do. He then gave us a leaflet showing what the plastic ball looks like. He also talked about the after care required as well what to look out for and who to contact if any problems arose. He also made out a prescription for afterwards of paracetamol in case my son was uncomfortable. Dr Wong asked if we wished to watch the procedure. I personally didn't mind watching as I work in an operating theatre so I'm not squeamish but I'm not sure everyone would want watch. I wanted to be their to comfort my son straight away afterwards. Dr Wong was happy for us to go in a see what happens he uses the plasiball technique. I have included a description of the plasiball technique taken from CIRP.org
The area is prepared with Betadine, an antiseptic. A surgical drape is placed over the baby. The foreskin opening in a newborn is normally very small, to prevent the entry
of foreign matter (eg. fecal matter). The first stage of circumcision is to grasp
the foreskin with forceps, and widen the opening. The foreskin is normally attached to the glans by a membrane called the synechia.
The glans and inner lining of the foreskin are still developing in the young child.
During circumcision, the synechia must be torn apart. Naturally, this is painful. The foreskin is clamped. A slit is made in the dorsal side of the foreskin. The slit is separated and the foreskin is laid back, exposing the raw and bleeding glans. A PlastiBell of appropriate size is slipped over the glans, and the foreskin is laid over it. A ligature is tied in the ridge of the bell, as tightly as possible around the foreskin.
Oozing will occur if the ligature is loose. After one or two minutes to allow for crush, the foreskin is sliced off at the distal edge of the ligature using a knife or scissors. The surgeon trims as much tissue as possible to reduce the amount of necrotic tissue and the possibility of infection. The handle of the bell is snapped off at this time. The rim of tissue will become necrotic (dead) and separate with the bell in 5 to 10 days. Occasionally, edema (swelling) will trap the plastic ring on the shaft of the penis. In this case it's usually necessary to cut off the ring, using a guide and ring cutter, although application of ice will sometimes reduce edema enough to remove the ring. Circumcision removes (on average) one third of the penile skin system (sensitive inner and outer preputial layers), including the peripenic dartos muscle, the frenar band, and part of the frenulum.
This is exactly how the procedure was performed on my son. It was very difficult to watch as mother I was very concerned for my son but I couldn' t have stood outside hearing his screams would have been far worse. My son was clearly in agnoy he felt it all and screamed almost all the way through. The nurse restrained him and comforted him at the same time. I stood in the corner almost in tears at what i'd put my son through, it took roughly 5 minutes it was a very unpleasent and unsettling experince.
When I first saw his penis afterwards I was horrifid it looks awful. Swollen bruised and bleeding with the cap in place. It must have been so sore. I found it rather alarming that it was still bleeding when I got him home so I ended up rushing straight back only for my son to be seen again by Dr Wong who said it was fine. I think I was been an overprotective mum.
My first son had no complications but there are risks including infection. On the first day after surgery my both my son cried each time he did a wee but soon stopped when comforted. After that they was fine and with my first son after 5 days the plastic cap fell off and the wound healed on my second son is still recovering so I can't comment yet on his. With my first son the cosmetic result is good there was some scar tissue on the underside of his penis but this has calmed down over time and is no longer noticeable. I would recommend the service if you do intend to have your son circumsied as I personally think this is the kindest way of doing it. Your son wont remember a thing and his penis will alway look at same way. My first has been peering over when I been changing my 2 nd and said oh no willy cut and is clearly quite concerned and told me he didn't want his willy cut so I am pleased its already been done it would be much harder to put him through it now.
I'm not advocating everyone go out and get their little boys circumcised suggesting maybe using this service if you are already planning to have your son circumcised.