Epidemiology of complications of male circumcision in Ibadan, Nigeria

BMC Urol. 2006 Aug 25;6:21. doi: 10.1186/1471-2490-6-21.


Background: The number of infants managed for neonatal circumcision injuries in our unit has been on the increase over the past 16 years. In our search for the sources and reasons for these injuries, we were unable to identify any previous studies of circumcision injuries from our environment. We therefore decided to carry out this study in order to shed some light on this growing problem.

Methods: The patients were made up of 370 consecutive consented children attending our infant welfare clinic for immunization over a period of 3 months. Information on their demographic data, their age at circumcision, where, why and who circumcised them was obtained from their mothers. They were clinically examined for the presence and type of complications of circumcision.

Results: Our circumcision rate was 87%. Neonatal circumcision had been performed in 270 (83.9%) of the children. Two hundred and fifty nine (80.7%) were performed in hospitals. The operation was done by nurses in 180 (55.9%), doctors in 113 (35.1%) and by the traditional circumcisionist in 29 (9%) of the children. Complications of circumcision occurred in 65 [20.2%] of the children. Of those who sustained these complications, 35 (53.8%) had redundant foreskin, 16 (24.6%) sustained excessive loss of foreskin, 11 (16.9%) had skin bridges, 2 (3.1%) sustained amputation of the glans penis and 1 (1.5%) had a buried penis. One of the two children who had amputation of the glans also had severe hemorrhage and was transfused. Even though the complications tended to be more likely with nurses than with doctors or traditional circumcisionists, this did not reach statistical significance (p = 0.051).

Conclusion: We have a very high rate of complications of circumcision of 20.2%. We suggest that training workshops should be organized to adequately retrain all practitioners of circumcision on the safe methods available.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Ceremonial Behavior
  • Circumcision, Male / adverse effects*
  • Circumcision, Male / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intraoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Nigeria / ethnology
  • Penis / injuries
  • Penis / surgery