Background/purpose: Although physician-reported complications following circumcision are very low, parental satisfaction is not well documented. This study examined parental opinions and compared these with those of the medical professional.
Methods: Physicians independently assessed complications and cosmetic outcome following the circumcision. Six weeks post-circumcision, parental report of complications, cosmetic outcome, and overall satisfaction were assessed.
Results: Newborn infants (n = 710) were prospectively recruited and underwent either a Gomco [n = 552 (78 %)] or Plastibell(®) [n = 158 (22 %)] circumcision. Physician assessed complication rates were equivalent (Gomco 4.3 % versus Plastibell 5.1 %; p = 0.67), however, parental assessment found a much lower complication rate for Gomco 5.6 % versus Plastibell 12.0 % (p < 0.001). There was no difference between who performed the procedure nor between the techniques in regards to parental rating of overall satisfaction (excellent/good: Gomco 96.9 % versus Plastibell 95.6 %, p = 0.45). However, perceived post-operative pain as scored by parents was significantly higher in patients undergoing Plastibell procedure (6.4 % too much pain) versus Gomco (2.7 %; p = 0.05). Gomco accounted for 72.7 % of parental cosmetically unsatisfactory cases.
Conclusions: Clinicians and parents differed considerably in terms of opinion of cosmetic outcome and occurrence of post-operative complications. This study emphasizes the need for clinicians to better understand and address parental concerns before and after circumcision.