Complications of self-circumcision: a case report and proposal

J Sex Med. 2008 Dec;5(12):2970-2. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.00858.x. Epub 2008 May 5.


Introduction: Male circumcision is a common surgical technique that has been performed worldwide for thousands of years for medical, social, cultural, and religious reasons. It is usually conducted in childhood in a clinical setting, but the practice of adult self-circumcision has led to a market for nonmedically approved self-circumcision devices that can be purchased via the Internet.

Aims: The aims of this report are to report the case of a 30-year-old white man who suffered complications after trying to perform a self-circumcision with a nonmedically approved device purchased via the Internet, and to propose that urologists should take the lead in investigating the problem of male self-circumcision.

Methods: This case report documents the presentation and treatment of an attempted self-circumcision.

Results: The attempted self-circumcision was carried out without local anaesthetic and resulted in an incision in the foreskin. The patient presented with uncontrollable local bleeding 2 days after carrying out the procedure. Although questioned as to why he had attempted self-circumcision, the patient was reluctant and/or unable to explain his reasons. Daily local wound care and topical antibiotics resulted in complete wound healing after 2 months, and a clinical clamp circumcision was conducted to treat the remaining severe phimosis.

Conclusion: Data on the prevalence and outcomes associated with the use of self-circumcision devices are few. The clinicians who treat the complications are best placed to collect data on self-circumcision and should publish case studies. Eventually there may be sufficient understanding of the sector of the population at risk from this practice to educate those likely to attempt self-circumcision, and enough evidence of harm for controls to be placed on the sale of these nonmedically approved devices via the Internet.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Circumcision, Male / adverse effects*
  • Circumcision, Male / instrumentation
  • Edema / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Penile Diseases / etiology*
  • Phimosis / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Postoperative Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Reoperation
  • Self Care / adverse effects*
  • Self Care / instrumentation
  • Self-Injurious Behavior / complications*
  • Surgical Instruments