What is Circumcision?

Circumcision is a simple operation that involves removal of the foreskin that sheaths the head of the penis. There are a number of very different methods used today for circumcision and the application of anesthesia. Please read on for detail on the method we use at Pollock Clinics as well as some alternate practices used by other doctors.

Why Do Parents Choose To Circumcise Their Sons?

According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, the overall evidence of the benefits and harms of circumcision is so evenly balanced that it does not support recommending circumcision as a routine procedure for all newborns.

When parents are making a decision about circumcision, they should be advised of the present state of medical knowledge about both its benefits and potential harms. The decision may ultimately be based on the family’s personal, religious or cultural factors.

According to a policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, “evaluation of current evidence indicates that the preventative health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks”.

The choice to circumcise your baby is one that you will make with the best interests of your boy at heart.

Research shows these benefits from infant circumcision:


  • It reduces the risk of urinary tract infection.
  • It reduces the risk of penile infection also called balanoposthitis.
  • It eliminates the need to do it later in life when up to 6% of boys will require a circumcision because of various problems. (When it is done later in life, it is a more costly, difficult, and riskier procedure requiring a general anesthetic, and it is more painful).
  • It reduces the risk of getting some sexually transmitted diseases including Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Herpes (HSV-2) and AIDS (HIV).
  • It reduces the risk of penile cancer and cervical cancer in partners.
  • Circumcised men have less risk of sexual dysfunction later in life.

What are potential complications of circumcision?

  • Bleeding – in 1 in 500 circumcisions there may be some bleeding that is usually stopped with pressure or less commonly with stitches. If a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia, then our doctors will need advice from a pediatric hematologist prior to proceeding.
  • Infection – there is always a possibility that there could be a generalized infection requiring antibiotics after the surgery (1/4000). Serious infections are rare (1/5000).
  • Concealed penis – when there is a good amount of fat around the penis (pubic fat), the penis may retract inward and increase the chances the penis gets partially buried and requiring medical intervention (1/800).
  • Meatal stenosis – this is a narrowing of the urethra that may occur after the procedure requiring medical intervention (1/1000).
  • Phimosis – this is a narrowing of the shaft skin opening over the head of the penis requiring medical intervention (1/500)
  • Trauma resulting in permanent damage to the head of the penis (1/20,000)
  • Suboptimal cosmetic result (1/500)
  • Skin Bridge (requiring surgical correction)- 1/1000 will have a skin bridge (fine bridge of skin that has grown to connect the shaft skin to the head of the penis) that requires surgical correction. Experienced circumcision physicians will often be able to pickup formation of skin bridges on the follow up visit after circumcision and at that time they are extremely simple to separate with a simple easing back of the skin.
  • More serious complications including death (never in our practice).

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The Pollock Method of Baby Circumcision – How we do it.

The Pollock Technique™ is known for its quickness (30 seconds) and safety. Dr. Pollock has considered even the smallest details including increasing room temperature and playing soothing music.

To keep your son comfortable both during and after the procedure, our doctors will use several pain control methods including Tylenol, sugar filled gauze pacifiers soaked with sweet juice for additional comfort and a topical freezing cream.

To ensure the most comfort for your son, we employ a local anesthetic technique that is a combination of both short and long acting anesthetic. This method provides comfort and coverage for both the procedure and for several hours after. All this ensures that your son will feel little or no pain at all.

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1. A profile of the uncircumcised penis with the foreskin covering the glans (head of the penis).

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2. The same penis as in Figure 1 but drawn as if the foreskin was transparent. Here you can see the foreskin in relation to the inner side of the foreskin and the glans. Notice the adhesions along the inner side of the glans. These are present at birth in almost all babies and must be released before the actual circumcision.

what age to circumcisise boy

3. The same penis following the circumcision. Notice that the cut edge of the skin retracts to just behind the back rim of the glans. This is the site of healing.

Why do most doctors recommend the Pollock Clinics for circumcision?

  • Pollock Clinics is one of the most experienced clinics in North America (over 35,000 circumcisions safely performed), which has meant extremely low complication rates at our clinics.
  • Our procedure takes 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  • To ensure your son is as comfortable as possible during the procedure, your son will have received Tylenol as outlined before coming to the clinic. Sugar filled gauze pacifiers soaked with sweet juice and a topical freezing cream will be given in the office.
  • In addition, we have developed and use a local anesthetic technique that is a combination block of both short and long acting anesthetics. This method provides comfort and coverage for both the procedure and for several hours after.
  • We have considered even the smallest details including increasing room temperature and playing soothing music.
  • For your peace of mind, our doctors are available 24 hours a day on his personal cell phone. All clients are given the doctor’s contact information if any concerns should arise so they can reach the doctor directly at any hour.
  • We do not charge any hospital administration fees.

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Other Circumcision Methods Used Elsewhere

There are several methods of circumcising babies practiced in Canada today. The Pollock Method used at our Vancouver clinics is fast and safe, with newborn circumcisions completed in safety in 30 seconds.

Other methods used elsewhere include:

Gomco Clamp Operation – No, we don’t use this method

The Gomco Clamp operation is the most common technique used by general practicioner physicians. It requires much longer to perform and involves much more tissue handling.

The technique involves compression of the foreskin for five minutes prior to incision. The gomco clamp method is common – but more complicated

The clamp is left in place long enough to allow clotting to occur, then the foreskin is removed using a scalpel. The clamp’s base and bell are then removed from the penis. The clamp itself must be rigorously sterilized prior to surgical use. Pollock Clinics does not use this method.

Plastibell Circumcision – No, we don’t use this method.

The Plastibell Circumcision Device is a clear plastic ring with a deep groove running circumferentially designed for circumcising infant males. The Plastibell is placed onto the head of the penis during a 10-minute surgical procedure, and the device will fall off within 3 to 7 days. We do not use this method at Pollock Clinics.

The plastibell circumcision is offered in Vancouver by some doctors, but we feel that the Pollock Technique™ is superior in that it is virtually painless, quick, and does not leave a surgical device attached the infant penis.

The Pollock Technique™ is preferred

General practitioner physicians may employ the Plastibell but the experienced newborn circumcision experts here at Pollock Clinics Vancouver prefer the Pollock Technique™ for its’ relative speed and safety.

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