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Adult circumcision

Surgery to remove the foreskin for cultural or medical reasons

Doctor physician consulting with patient about adult circumcision procedure
Circumcision is a surgical procedure to remove the foreskin (the fold of skin that covers the end of the penis). It is most commonly performed in infancy or early childhood for religious, cultural or medical reasons. It can also be performed on adults.

Adult circumcision can be performed for religious or cultural reasons, cosmetic reasons, or for medical reasons.

This page explains what adult circumcision is, what happens during the procedure and what to expect during your recovery.

Call or book online today to arrange a consultation to discuss private circumcision with a consultant of your choice at Circle Health Group.


Please be aware that the following prices are a guide price. Your final price will be confirmed in writing following your consultation and any necessary diagnostic tests.

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic Investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Guide price
Hospital fees N/A Not included £2,575 Included £2,575
Consultants fees from £200 N/A Included Included £563
Guide price £2,775

There are many reasons why you may be circumcised as an adult, which fall under categories including:

  • Religious - circumcision is a common practice in religions including Judaism and Islam
  • Cultural - circumcision is widespread in many communities including sub-Saharan Africans, and aboriginal Australasians
  • Cosmetic - some men may choose to be circumcised for aesthetic purposes, or they may feel self-conscious if they live in a society where most men have had the procedure
  • Medical - circumcision can be used to treat several medical conditions such as phimosis or balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO)
  • Preventative healthcare - circumcision appears to reduce the risk of getting some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as HIV, HPV, herpes, and syphilis as well as reducing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). Men who are circumcised also have a lower risk of developing cancer of the penis.

Circumcision as an adult may be necessary to treat several medical conditions.

Phimosis (tight foreskin)

Phimosis is a condition where the foreskin becomes too tight to be pulled back over the head of the penis. It can make erections painful and may cause problems passing urine.


This is the opposite of phimosis where the retracted foreskin becomes stuck and cannot be pulled back to its normal position covering the head of the penis. It causes the head of the penis to become swollen and painful. Paraphimosis is a medical emergency and can lead to serious complications if not treated quickly.

Recurrent balanitis

Balanitis is inflammation of the head of the penis. Symptoms include pain, swelling, itching and a thick, unpleasant-smelling discharge under the foreskin. It is commonly caused by a fungal or bacterial infection. The condition is not usually serious, but it can be uncomfortable. If you keep getting balanitis, your doctor may recommend circumcision.

Balanitis xerotica obliterans (BXO)

BXO is chronic (long-term) balanitis. It causes white lesions (patches) to form on the foreskin which spread to the head of the penis fusing the foreskin and the head of the penis together and causing phimosis.

Penile cancer

Cancer of the penis is a rare form of cancer that normally affects the head of the penis or foreskin. Symptoms include a growth or sore at the tip of the penis, bleeding from the penis, or under the foreskin, a strong-smelling discharge and phimosis.

At your first consultation, you will be seen by a consultant urologist, a doctor specialising in conditions affecting the male urinary and reproductive systems.

Your consultant will ask you about your symptoms, medical history, and any medications you are taking. They will examine your penis to diagnose any medical conditions that may require circumcision.

At Circle Health Group, your first appointment is very important as it's where we get to know you, discuss your expectations for treatment, explain all the risks and benefits of the procedure and encourage you to ask any questions you may have.

At the end of your appointment, your consultant will discuss whether circumcision is a suitable procedure for you based on your symptoms, physical examination, and preferences.

Before your circumcision, your consultant will tell you everything you need to do to prepare. Please ask any questions about how to prepare for your surgery, or call the hospital for advice if there's anything you're not sure of. It's important to be as well-prepared as possible before your surgery as this will help to ease any anxiety you may have as well as help your surgery and recovery to go more smoothly.

Before your surgery, tell your consultant about any medical conditions or allergies you have and any medication, including over-the-counter medicines you are taking.

Your consultant may tell you to stop taking some medications like blood thinners or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) before your operation. This is to reduce the risk of bleeding during and after your surgery.

You will not be able to eat or drink anything from midnight on the day of your operation.

What lifestyle changes can I make before my surgery?

Being in optimal health before your surgery can reduce the risk of complications and speed up your recovery.

To make sure you are as healthy as possible before your surgery:

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains
  • If you smoke, try to stop at least eight weeks before your surgery
  • Avoid alcohol for a few days before and after your surgery. Alcohol thins the blood and can increase the risk of bleeding
  • Take regular exercise

Adult circumcision is normally performed under general anaesthetic meaning you'll be asleep for the procedure.

Once your anaesthetic has taken effect your consultant will remove the foreskin from behind the head of the penis using a scalpel or surgical scissors. They will then cauterise (use heat to stop bleeding) the blood vessels and stitch the remaining skin together with dissolvable stitches. Your penis will then be wrapped in a sterile dressing.

After your surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room where medical staff will monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, blood oxygen level and breathing until the effects of the anaesthetic have worn off. You will then be taken to your room.

Recovery from any type of surgery is different for everyone and depends on factors such as your age, general health and whether or not there were any complications during your surgery or recovery.

Your consultant will be able to give you an estimated recovery timeline based on your individual circumstances.

What to expect after adult circumcision surgery

  • Your penis will be sore and swollen for about a week after surgery. Taking over-the-counter painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen will help to ease any pain or discomfort
  • Applying ice packs wrapped in a cloth or over your clothes can help reduce swelling. Never apply ice packs directly to the skin
  • We recommend that you rest at home for the first week after your surgery. You should avoid heavy lifting or strenuous activity for around two weeks
  • It's important to keep your incision wound clean after surgery. Rinse the area with warm water after passing urine and take daily showers from the day after your surgery until the wound has healed
  • Wear comfortable, but supportive underwear and loose clothing on your lower body for the first week after your surgery. Applying Vaseline (petroleum jelly) to the tip of your penis will prevent it from rubbing against your clothes
  • You should not have sex or masturbate for around four to six weeks after your circumcision. Check with your consultant when it is safe for you to resume sexual activity
  • Avoid vigorous exercise, contact sports, swimming or cycling for at least three weeks after your surgery

Contact your healthcare provider if you experience:

  • pain or difficulty while passing urine (peeing)
  • fever (a temperature of 38C or above)
  • severe or worsening pain
  • bleeding from the incision

How many nights will I need to stay in hospital?

You may be able to go home later the same day, or you may spend one night in hospital after your circumcision. If you go home the same day, we recommend that you have someone stay with you overnight for the first night after your operation.

Will I be able to drive home?

Due to the general anaesthetic, you should not drive yourself home from the hospital. You may also have some pain and swelling after your circumcision that may make driving uncomfortable. Please make arrangements for someone to come and collect you, or we can organise a taxi if you prefer.

How soon can I go back to work?

It normally takes around ten days for your penis to heal after your circumcision. We recommend that you take at least a week off work after your surgery, this may be longer if you have a manual job that involves strenuous activity or heavy lifting.

How soon can I drive?

You should not drive for at least forty-eight hours after having a general anaesthetic. Even if you feel fine, the effects of the anaesthetic may still be in your body and may slow your reaction times. Do not drive until you can perform manoeuvres such as an emergency stop comfortably, and you are not distracted by postoperative pain. This is normally a week to ten days after your surgery.

When will I be back to normal?

It normally takes between a week to ten days for your penis to heal after circumcision. If your healing is taking longer than this, contact your consultant for advice. Full recovery from adult circumcision normally takes between two and three weeks.

As with all types of surgery, adult circumcision carries a small risk of complications. Your consultant will explain all the possible risks and complications before your surgery and answer any questions you may have. Being as well-informed as possible about the risks and complications of surgery will allow you to make an informed decision.

Possible complications of any surgery include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Adverse reactions to the anaesthetic

In addition to the above, possible complications specific to adult circumcision include:

  • Scarring
  • Tenderness around the scar
  • Slow wound healing
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Reduced sensation in the tip of the penis which may reduce sexual pleasure
  • Too much, or not enough of the foreskin is removed which may require further surgery
  • Stitches may not dissolve and need to be removed
  • Damage to the urethra (the tube inside the penis through which you pass urine)
  • The foreskin may not reattach to the penis properly possibly leading to more surgery

We answer some of your most commonly asked questions about adult circumcision.

How long does circumcision take to heal in adults?

It normally takes around ten days for your penis to heal after adult circumcision.

How painful is circumcision in adults?

Postoperative pain after adult circumcision surgery is usually mild to moderate and can be relieved with over-the-counter painkillers. If you experience severe pain after your surgery, contact your healthcare provider.

How long after adult circumcision can you have a bath?

You can normally take baths when your incision wound has healed. Check with your consultant about when you can have a bath after your circumcision.

Does adult circumcision affect penis length?

An uncircumcised penis may appear bulkier when flaccid due to the excess skin of the foreskin, but circumcision does not change the actual length of your penis.

How do I clean my surgical wound after adult circumcision?

After your circumcision, it is important to keep the incision site clean. You can do this by rinsing the area with warm water after passing urine and taking daily showers from the morning after your operation. Do not use soap or body wash on your incision site or apply any ointments or creams to the wound. You can apply Vaseline to the tip of your penis if you wish to reduce friction or irritation from clothing.

At Circle Health Group we have the experience and expertise to ensure the best possible care and outcome for our patients. As a patient with Circle Health Group, you can expect the highest standards of care including:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations that are convenient for you
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard
  • A range of delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to see a consultant or learn more about adult circumcision book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly on 0141 300 5009.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in February 2023. Next review due February 2026.

  1. Circumcision in men, NHS
  2. Adult Circumcision, American Family Physician
  3. Getting Circumcised as an Adult , Healthline
  4. Circumcision, NIH

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