Complications of traditional male circumcision

Ann Trop Paediatr. 1999 Mar;19(1):113-7. doi: 10.1080/02724939992743.


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 circumcized in our hospital decreased. We advocate the provision of adequate and safe facilities to cope with the increasing demand for circumcision in our society.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Circumcision, Male / adverse effects*
  • Cutaneous Fistula / etiology
  • Fistula / etiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Urethral Diseases / etiology