Circumcisions for medical reasons in the Brazilian public health system: epidemiology and trends

Einstein (Sao Paulo). 2012 Jul-Sep;10(3):342-6. doi: 10.1590/s1679-45082012000300015.
[Article in English, Portuguese]


Objective: To evaluate the epidemiological factors associated to medical circumcision, based on data from the Brazilian public health system.

Methods: Using the Unified Health System public database between 1984 and 2010, hospital admissions associated with surgical treatment of phimosis were searched. A total of 668,818 men admitted to public hospitals who underwent circumcision were identified and included in the present study.

Results: A mean±standard deviation of 47.8±13.4 circumcisions/100,000 men/year was performed through the Unified Health System for medical reasons. During the 27-year period evaluated, 1.3% of the male population required circumcision for medical reasons. Total number of circumcisions and circumcision rate increased in childhood, declined progressively after 5 years of age and rose again progressively after the sixth decade of life. In the regions of the country with better access to healthcare, 5.8% of boys aged 1 to 9 years old required circumcisions. From 1992 to 2010 there were 63 deaths associated with circumcisions (mortality rate of 0.013%).

Conclusion: In conclusion, yearly circumcision rates could be estimated in Brazil, and a very low mortality rate was associated with this procedures. Circumcision is mostly performed in children in the first decade of life and a second peak of incidence of penile foreskin diseases occurs after the sixth decade of life, when circumcision is progressively performed again.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Circumcision, Male / statistics & numerical data*
  • Circumcision, Male / trends
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • National Health Programs
  • Phimosis / epidemiology
  • Phimosis / surgery*