newborn penis has been the subject of more than a little ink lately.
San Francisco tried in vain to curtail circumcision. Germany recently
ruled that the procedure constitutes “bodily harm.” “Intactivists” rail
against circumcision even as most baby boys born in the U.S still get
Until now, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has remained
fairly neutral on the subject. But on Monday, the influential
pediatricians’ group updated its policy statement from 1999, stating
that the “preventive health benefits of elective circumcision of male
newborns outweigh the risks of the procedure.” The organization stopped
short of routinely recommending the procedure for all baby boys, noting
that the decision of whether circumcision “is in the best interests of
their male child” should be left up to individual families. But they
added that those families that choose circumcision — and most U.S.
families still do, although the practice has been on the decline —
should be reimbursed by insurance.
“There has been a change in tone,” says Dr. Doug Diekema, a member of
the AAP task force on circumcision and a pediatrician at Seattle
Children’s Hospital. “We are saying that based on our review, male
circumcision does have significant health benefits that outweigh the
risks of the procedure.”
(MORE: Uncircumcised Boys Have a Higher Risk of UTI)
From 1999 to 2010, the CDC found that between 56% to 59% of newborn boys were circumcised. Circumcision has been on the decline in the U.S.,
from 63.5% in 1999 to 56.3% in 2008, according to the Agency for
Healthcare Research and Quality’s National Inpatient Sample, which is
commonly used to track hospital procedures and outcomes.
A recent study in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine
projected a health-care doomsday marked by a steep rise in infections
and medical-related spending if circumcision rates continue to
fall. Already, Medicaid in 18 states doesn’t cover circumcision, and the
study’s author, Dr. Aaron Tobian of Johns Hopkins University, worries
that private insurance companies will be quick to follow suit. “[W]ith
private insurance carriers following the government’s rules, we are
implying there are no medical benefits to this procedure,” he told Healthland earlier this month.
In its updated policy, the AAP makes it clear there are medical
upsides to choosing circumcision. Since 1999 when the original policy
was written, nearly 1,000 new journal articles on circumcision have been
published. More evidence was suggesting that circumcision has a
protective effect against human papilloma virus (which, in turn, may
lead to fewer HPV infections in women), HIV, genital herpes and even syphilis. It’s also associated with a decrease in urinary tract infections in babies and boys, as well as a reduced risk of penile and prostate cancers.
The risks are mostly limited to bleeding or mild infection; there is
no clear evidence that either sexual function or sexual performance are
(MORE: If Circumcision Rates Keep Falling, Health Costs and Infections Will Spike)
Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/27/circumcision-pediatricians-say-benefits-trump-risks/?iid=sci-category-mostpop2#ixzz24lgdHBea