Sunday, January 31, 2010

What Will It Look Like Before and Afterwards?

I try to leave graphic images out of this blog, so I will do my best to explain here what the penis looks like before and after the bris.

BEFORE

Take a look at your baby! Now you know how it looks before the bris!

Just kidding.

The uncircumcised shaft of the penis looks like an inverted hourglass. It is thinner as it hits the scrotum, and thinner at the tip, but significantly fatter in the middle. The reason for this is because the glans, the part of the penis which is revealed after the circumcision, is hidden underneath the foreskin. Were you to slowly (and gently) pinch the tip of the penis, you'd see the "bump" in the middle of the shaft move it's way towards the scrotum. Let go of the tip of the penis, and the bump will slide back to its natural position. That bump is the outer edge of the glans - usually the 1/3 or midway point of a baby's penis.

THE FORESKIN

The foreskin (a.k.a. "prepuce") is an outer coating which covers the glans. It covers around half of the shaft. As only the foreskin is removed during circumcision, when the glans is revealed, one can easily see (contrary to popular culture's 'complaint') that the penis is not "smaller" - it just looks different.

[While I won't put the photo in the actual blog - I believe you can get the idea of what this all means when you look at this photo of a circumcised banana.]

AFTER

Before you read this section, understand that most circumcisions do not necessarily turn out exactly the same. All babies are different, and may have different "surprises" under their foreskins, which are not usually detected until after the circumcision itself.

For example, every baby has a differently shaped glans. Thus the first thing you see will look different from child to child.

Secondly, some babies have a minimal mucosal membrane underneath the foreskin, which might completely come off as well during the circumcision. Others have much more membrane with a significant amount left over after the bris, even if it is no longer coating the glans. Still others have significant tissue webbing, which would be undetected until the foreskin is removed. Depending on the extent of the webbing, it may need to be removed separately after the circumcision.

THREE SECTIONS

After the circumcision, one can usually identify three distinct sections on the circumcised penis.

SECTION #1: THE GLANS is the first things you see. It is the tip of the penis, and it almost looks like an army helmet - were the shaft to be standing upright.

A kosher bris consists of the farther rim of the glans being completely revealed, visible, and distinct, with no skin tags attached to it, and nothing hampering its distinct view.

It is usually a very deep, dark, raw RED COLOR (though it is sometimes PURPLE).

SECTION #2: THE MEMBRANE may or may not be completely removed in the bris process. If some of it remains, it may be slightly swollen, and may seem a little puffy below the glans.

Like the glans, it is typically a dark RED COLOR, though it does not usually have the same deep color of the glans. It will also look raw.

If the Membrane is completely removed, the area below the glans will look empty, but there will usually be a gap of a couple of millimeters between the glans and...

SECTION #3: The SPOT OF THE INCISION. This is the spot on the skin itself where the foreskin ended - or at least where the mohel estimated the foreskin ended. Ideally, the incision mark will be fairly close to the glans - but depending on the size of the baby's shaft, the mohel may have found the need to remove more or less skin in order to avoid future problems which may come from the glans falling back into the shaft and/or scrotum.

Dr. Neil Pollock - a very busy circumciser in Vancouver, has detailed information about this on his website. Feel free to read through the information he has - it can be found here [Start with the "Parents Guide to Circumcision" and move on from there!]

WHAT YOU WILL SEE

Aside from the dark red colors and the swelling, the scab tissue which sometimes develops in the area will typically be of a yellowish/ greenish hue. This is normal.

It is not advisable to pick at this, or to rub it as it will only cause the penis to bleed. A warm bath is good and promotes healing. Otherwise, like any scab, it is best to put bacitracin on it for a few days and then stop using ointments when the danger of infection is gone and it just needs to continue healing on its own.

2 comments:

  1. Rabbi
    The circumcised banana is hysterical! Thanks for sharing - I still don't exactly get it, but I have a better idea of how things are a little different.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is very helpful.

    ReplyDelete

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