Businessweek published a brief review of the current debate on infant circumcision yesterday. Not surprisingly, American researchers largely dismiss any concerns while Australian researchers consider the psychological and complication rate more worthy of consideration.
A short excerpt:
In general, “there is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding the risks and benefits of circumcision,” said Dr. Douglas S. Diekema, a pediatrician at the University of Washington who’s familiar with both reviews and serves on a task force working on the academy’s recommendations.
“There are some clear benefits to circumcision,” he said. “There are some risks to circumcision, although the significant ones appear to be rare.”
Not so, write the Australian researchers, who examined eight studies for a review in the latest issue of the Annals of Family Medicine. Two studies involved neonatal circumcision, and six involved older males, roughly 14 to 49 years old.
The review’s lead author, researcher Caryn Perera of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, said the risk of major complications ranges from 2 percent to 10 percent. “These may be considered unacceptable for an elective procedure,” she said.
Parents who think circumcision has medical benefits should be aware that there’s “a lack of consensus and robust evidence” on that, she added.
Though African studies have linked circumcision in adult men to lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases, including the virus that causes AIDS, Perera said that only future studies will tell if those findings are applicable to the Western world, where AIDS is much less prevalent.
And there’s more to consider, Perera said. She said that circumcision poses problems from a mental point of view, potentially causing “significant anger or feeling incomplete, hurt, frustrated, abnormal or violated.”
Link: To Circumcise or Not? Reviews offer differing views on value and risks of procedure [dead link, Businessweek is part of Bloomberg, now]
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