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What is a circumcision?

A circumcision is the surgical removal of the foreskin surrounding the head of the penis.

How long will it take?

The operation takes about 30 to 45 minutes. This includes the anaesthetic, operation and time spent in the recovery room.

Your child will need to stay in the Day Unit for approximately two hours following surgery.

When can my child eat and drink again?

If your child is awake on return to the Day Unit, they can have clear fluids immediately (breastfed babies can have a breastfeed.) A light diet will be offered when fully awake.

Care at home

Pain relief

  • Upon returning home, your child can have paracetamol for pain or discomfort as advised at the time of discharge
  • Give other pain relief medicine if advised.
  • Do not give aspirin.

Diet and fluids

Your child may eat and drink when feeling well.


It is not uncommon for children to vomit on the night of the operation. If your child is vomiting, give sips of clear fluids, try a piece of dry toast or a cracker biscuit and increase the amounts as tolerated until the vomiting settles. If vomiting continues after 24 hours seek medical advice.


Often there is no dressing at all. Some have a small plastic dressing covering the operation site. In either case, your child can bath or shower after 24 hours. The dressing will come off in a few days in the bath. If there is no penile dressing, Vaseline or paraffin should be applied to crutch on the nappy or liner at nappy changes for one week, or underwear until the wound is day and there is no ooze. 


Swimming is allowed after seven days.

Points to remember

  • Circumcision surgery usually requires admission for the day only.
  • Vigorous play or contact sport should be avoided for about 14 days or as advised.
  • Your child may return to school after five to seven days if feeling well.
  • Take your child to your GP, contact your specialist doctor or go to your closest hospital that treats children if there is excess vomiting, persistent high temperatures or excessive pain not relieved by paracetamol.
  • A small amount of bleeding occasionally occurs. If there is excessive bleeding, go to your closest hospital Emergency Department that treats children.
  • Some swelling is expected which should decrease after 24 hours.
  • If you are concerned about the operation site, please contact your local GP.

Follow up visit

Your specialist doctor will speak to you about a follow up visit.

Emergency contact

To ensure your child receives the best possible care in an emergency, you should call 000 or go to your nearest Emergency Department.

If you have any concerns or questions please contact your doctor.

Contact Mater Children’s Private Brisbane

Salmon Building,

Raymond Terrace,

South Brisbane QLD 4101

Telephone: 07 3163 8111


Mater acknowledges consumer consultation in the development of this patient information.
Mater Doc Num: PI-CLN-470010
Last modified 28/4/2020.
Consumers were consulted in the development of this patient information.
Last consumer engagement date: 01/10/2019
For further translated health information, you can visit healthtranslations.vic.gov.au/ supported by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services that offers a range of patient information in multiple languages.
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