Circumcision: Caring for your child at home after the procedure

W​hat is a circumcision?

A circumcision is the removal of the male foreskin. Usually, circumcisions are done soon after birth. However, the procedure is also performed on older boys.

There are two ways circumcisions can be performed: by making an incision, or by using a plastic ring. Cleaning, pain management, and general care are the same for both circumcision methods.


Circumcision is a procedure that involves removing the foreskin that covers the head, or glans, of the penis.

General care after circumcision

After the procedure, bathe your son normally and allow the penis to air dry when possible. Your son should take warm baths every day for one week after the circumcision. Frequent bathing is recommended.

If an incision-type circumcision is performed, your son may come home with a small bandage around the circumcision site. Let the bandage come off by itself, unless instructed otherwise. If the bandage does not fall off on its own, soak it in the bath, it may just take a little more time. If a ring-type circumcision is performed, the ring (Plastibell) should fall off on its own within two weeks (usually 5-10 days). Let it come off by itself, unless instructed otherwise. Do not pull the ring off.

Apply a topical barrier ointment (Vaseline) or topical over-the-counter-antibiotic (Polysporin) on the end of the penis after every bath and with each diaper change until completely healed. Be generous with the ointment as its purpose is to prevent any sticking to the diaper or underwear, not to prevent infection. Maintain your usual routine as you do not have to change diapers more frequently than usual, even with soiling.

​Managing your child's pain with medication

​Your child may have some mild pain during and after the surgery. The pain does not last more than a couple of days. During the first 48 hours after the circumcision, you may give your son acetaminophen (Tylenol or Tempra) on a regular basis.

It may take your son several hours to pee for the first time after surgery. If he feels uncomfortable, a warm bath with a little encouragement and relaxation may help him to pee in the tub. It is important to give him time.

​When to call the doctor

​Regardless of age, like any procedure, circumcision may have adverse consequences. Although the risks of circumcision are small (infection, bleeding, pain​, injury to the penis), more serious consequences can occur. A small amount of bleeding in the first few hours after surgery is normal. The bleeding should stop by the end of the day of the surgery. If the bleeding does not subside, or if you are concerned, you can visit your local Emergency Room or the Hospital for Sick Children Emergency Department. If you have any questions, you may also contact your family physician or paediatrician.

​Key points

  • ​Your son should take three warm baths every day for one week after the circumcision.
  • If your son came home with a bandage on the circumcision site, it will usually fall off on its own.
  • If your son had a circumcision using a ring, let the ring fall off by itself.
  • To reduce pain, you may give your son acetaminophen​ (Tylenol or Tempra).

At SickKids

​Your son will not require a follow-up visit to the SickKids Circumcision Clinic. If you have questions or concerns, you are welcome to contact our clinic during weekday business hours. Please make a follow-up call to our clinic six weeks after surgery to report your son's final status. ​

SickKids Circumcision Clinic