Circumcision is probably the oldest and most common surgical operation. It was first described in the Bible 3,000 years ago as a ritual of “circumcision”, but it has probably been practiced for much longer.
Circumcision is the surgical amputation of the tissue and mucosa that normally covers the glans (head) of the male genital organ. This two-layer tissue is known as the foreskin. Circumcision is quite common in newborn boys in some parts of the world. The procedure after this period, when the boy is no longer a baby, is possible, but it is much more complex.
How Much Does Circumcision Cost?
Circumcision surgery is covered by most health insurance companies, but some consider it cosmetic. Health-insured patients would have to copay up to $60 for this procedure or 10% to 15% of the total cost, depending on the policy. For instance, Kaiser Permanent company covers all the costs for the circumcisions performed on newborns but will cover for older children and adults only if it is medically deemed (cases of cancer or infections).
The average price without insurance for a newborn circumcision is anywhere between $160 and $450 just for the doctor fee, plus a facility fee, which can result in a total cost of $820 or even more.
For instance, at the Gentle Circumcision California clinic the price of circumcision for babies up to seven weeks old is $160, while Pediatric Associates from Iowa charges $260 and Pediatrics Northwest, located in Washington state, charges $180.
If the baby is up to two weeks old, be prepared to pay $260 at the Premier Pediatrics clinic, located in North Carolina. Also, the Canyon View Medical Group, from Utah, charges $355 for this surgery.
When the surgery is done in the hospital after birth, instead of at a private clinic, you will have to pay a hospital facility fee that is anywhere between $120 and more than $410. For example, the fee for this procedure at the Knox Community Hospital in Ohio is $240, at the University Of North Carolina Hospital is $410 and at the Community Memorial Hospital, located in Ohio is $145.
The average cost of circumcision, without insurance, for older children or adults starts at $850 and goes up to $3,100 or even more. For instance, the initial consultation fee at the Harold Reed, M.D. is $270 and the surgery, where the anesthesia, doctor fee, and the facility fee are included, is $1,800, resulting in a total cost of $2,070. In case the foreskin is retractable, the circumcision surgery costs $2,600 at The Circumcision Center in Georgia and $3,100 if the foreskin is not retractable.
Also, at the Gentle Circumcision, the cost for children 1 to 17 years is $870, while the same procedure for an adult is $1,600 with local anesthesia and $3,150 with general anesthesia.
The operation consists essentially in removing the foreskin, while the patient is being anesthetized. The area is cleaned and the foreskin is retracted to remove adhesions and clean under it. It is then stretched forward, symmetrically, usually with fine surgical forceps.
Another forceps is placed transversely on the foreskin to hold the tip of the male genital organ back, the foreskin is removed with a scalpel or scissors, and the forceps are removed. The skin of the organ pouch is usually removed and the edge of the skin left around the tip of the organ is sutured to the back skin, thus completing the procedure. The patient can return home without problems after the first urination.
It usually takes 7 to 10 days for the baby’s genital area to heal. The tip of the organ may be inflamed at first, and the organ may be red, swollen, or bruised. You may also notice a yellow crust on the tip of the glans. If your newborn is agitated as the effect of the anesthesia passes, hold him lightly in your arms, making sure not to put pressure on the organ. It’s okay to wash his genital area as it heals.
In the case of newborns, the procedure takes about 20 minutes. Circumcision in adults lasts about 40 minutes.
The adult patient usually needs to take at least three days off from work, and full recovery can last up to a month.
Circumcision complications are rare, although there will be a period of discomfort that can last for several days. The most common complication is bleeding, which can usually be controlled. Other complications can involve injury of the tip of the organs and infections.
Important things to consider
The procedure for infant circumcision typically is performed by an obstetrician/gynecologist or pediatrician, but a urologist will probably be most qualified.
For an older child, a pediatric urologist should perform circumcision, whereas for adults a urologist is recommended. The American Urological Association offers a resource with the option of searching for and locating a specialist in your area.
When a Jew circumcises their child, they typically use the services of mohels, people who have been trained and certified in ritual circumcision. For those looking for rabbis or doctors that offer this service around their area, they can search on the MohelUSA.com website.
The American Academy of Pediatrics is against routine infant circumcision, and they say there isn’t enough medical evidence to justify recommending it.
The procedure is recommended for newborns, older boys, or even adults to treat phimosis (inability to retract the foreskin) or to treat a penis infection.
What are the extra costs?
Don’t forget that you will need to treat your wound on a daily basis. Petroleum jelly and gauze or ointment are the best at-home care for wounds like these.
How can I save money?
You can save some money by paying upfront or in cash as there are hospitals and doctors that offer discounts for these methods of payment.
You can save more than $120 if you have this procedure done at a doctor’s office because they do not charge any facility fee.