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     INFORMATIVE VIDEOS: 
    
Facing Circumcision  Eight Physicians Tell Their Stories
     Restoration in Focus  
Instructional Video for Foreskin Restoration
     They Cut Babies, Don't They?  
One Man's Struggle Against Circumcision
     Whose Body, Whose Rights?   Award-winning documentary seen on PBS!

THE BOOK THAT EXPOSES IT ALL: 
    
Circumcision Exposed
Rethinking a Medical and
Cultural Tradition

FORESKIN RESTORATION with:
The P.U.D.  new low pricing!
and The VacuTrac at special pricing!
plus the Foreballs device

 

Estimated U.S. Incidence of
Neonatal Circumcision Complications (physical only)
Affecting Males Born between 1940 and 1990

NOTE: Neither the American medical community nor any agency of the U.S. government
keeps complete and accurate records of the number of circumcisions performed,
or the number of circumcision-related complications or deaths.
The figures below are conservative estimates based on reliable statistical sources.


NOTE: Links with a right-facing blue arrow will take you off this site.

Advance Down to Totals

 

Year

 

 

Male
Births
1

 

 

Circumcision
Rate
2

 

 

Estimated Number of Circumcisions 2

 

 

Estimated Number of Complications (2-10%) 3

 

1940
1941
1942
1943
1944
1945
1946
1947
1948
1949
1950
1951
1952
1953
1954
1955
1956
1957
1958
1959
1960
1961
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966
1967
1968
1969
1970
1971
1972
1973
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1979
1980
1981
1982
1983
1984
1985
1986
1987
1988
1989
1990

1,200,000
1,200,000
1,200,000
1,200,000
1,200,000
1,400,000
1,400,000
1,400,000
1,400,000
1,400,000
1,800,000
1,800,000
1,800,000
1,800,000
1,800,000
2,100,000
2,100,000
2,100,000
2,100,000
2,100,000
2,200,000
2,200,000
2,200,000
2,200,000
2,200,000
1,900,000
1,900,000
1,900,000
1,900,000
1,900,000
1,900,000
1,800,000
1,700,000
1,600,000
1,600,000
1,600,000
1,600,000
1,700,000
1,700,000
1,800,000
1,800,000
1,900,000
1,900,000
1,900,000
1,900,000
1,900,000
1,900,000
1,900,000
2,000,000
2,100,000
2,100,000

60%
60%
60%
60%
60%
60%
60%
60%
60%
60%
70%
70%
70%
70%
70%
70%
70%
70%
70%
70%
75%
75%
75%
75%
75%
75%
75%
75%
75%
75%
80%
80%
80%
80%
80%
80%
80%
80%
80%
80%
85%
85%
82%
79%
76%
73%
70%
67%
64%
61%
59%

720,000
720,000
720,000
720,000
720,000
840,000
840,000
840,000
840,000
840,000
1,260,000
1,260,000
1,260,000
1,260,000
1,260,000
1,470,000
1,470,000
1,470,000
1,470,000
1,470,000
1,650,000
1,650,000
1,650,000
1,650,000
1,650,000
1,425,000
1,425,000
1,425,000
1,425,000
1,425,000
1,520,000
1,440,000
1,360,000
1,280,000
1,280,000
1,280,000
1,280,000
1,360,000
1,360,000
1,440,000
1,530,000
1,615,000
1,558,000
1,501,000
1,444,000
1,387,000
1,330,000
1,273,000
1,280,000
1,281,000
1,239,000

14,400 to 72,000
14,400 to 72,000
14,400 to 72,000
14,400 to 72,000
14,400 to 72,000
16,800 to 84,000
16,800 to 84,000
16,800 to 84,000
16,800 to 84,000
16,800 to 84,000
25,200 to 126,000
25,200 to 126,000
25,200 to 126,000
25,200 to 126,000
25,200 to 126,000
29,400 to 147,000
29,400 to 147,000
29,400 to 147,000
29,400 to 147,000
29,400 to 147,000
33,000 to 165,000
33,000 to 165,000
33,000 to 165,000
33,000 to 165,000
33,000 to 165,000
28,500 to 142,500
28,500 to 142,500
28,500 to 142,500
28,500 to 142,500
28,500 to 142,500
30,400 to 152,000
28,800 to 144,000
27,200 to 136,000
25,600 to 128,000
25,600 to 128,000
25,600 to 128,000
25,600 to 128,000
27,200 to 136,000
27,200 to 136,000
28,800 to 144,000
30,600 to 153,000
32,300 to 161,500
31,160 to 155,800
30,020 to 150,100
28,800 to 144,400
27,740 to 138,700
26,600 to 133,000
25,460 to 127,300
25,600 to 128,000
25,620 to 128,100
24,780 to 123,900

Total Estimated Number of Circumcisions           65,863,000

Total Estimated Number of Complications              1,317,260  to 6,586,300

Total Estimated Number of Deaths4                          131 to  2,744

 

For estimates of U.S. circumcision rates from 1870 to 1994, see:
A Short History of Circumcision in the Physicians' Own Words

See also: Estimated Worldwide Incidence of Male Circumcision Complications

NOTES:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states, "The exact incidence of postoperative complications is unknown."5 One must question: Why is the incidence of complications not recorded? The AAP estimates, however, that this incidence is 0.2%,6 an extraordinarily low figure. Even applying this low incidence to the number of estimated circumcisions during the above period, over 131,726 males are living with these complications. Neither the estimates of the AAP nor NOHARMM include sexual or psychological consequences from neonatal circumcision that manifest or are recognized later in life.

Incidence estimates in the table above represent aggregate figures for a wide range of lifelong physical complications including excessive skin loss, laceration of penile and scrotal skin, beveling deformities of the glans, iatrogenic hypospadias/epispadias, chordee, bowing/curvature, keloid formation/prominent scarring, lymphedema of the glans, concealed penis, skin bridges, skin tags, preputial cysts, meatal stenosis/urinary obstruction, and loss of penis (with likely gender reassignment). Although American circumcision advocate, Thomas  E. Wiswell, M.D., suggests that the post-neonatal complication rate from medicalized, non-ritual circumcision is 1.7%7, the true incidence of these complications is not known. In the likely event that at least 1% of circumcisions performed in this period resulted in a physical complication with a negative lifelong impact, the number of males affected during the period totals to a staggering 658,630.

Many of these complications go unreported by surgeons, either because they are not immediately recognized on the infant's tiny penis, or they are of little significance to surgeons who circumcise hundreds of male newborns annually. These usually remain unreported throughout a male's life due to his own ignorance of, or inhibitions to report, circumcision-related penile complications.

These figures also include the most common complications of hemorrhage and infection (sepsis). Serious hemorrhage, which can lead to brain damage, occurs in about 2% of circumcised infants.8 Thus, over 1.3 million males born between 1940 and 1990 some form of serious hemorrhage resulting from neonatal circumcision, with an unreported and unknown incidence of long-term effect. Infections, which can result in bacteremia, meningitis, osteomyeltis, lung abscess, diptheria and tuberculosis,9 occurs in up to 10% of patients.3 Thus, up to 6.5 million males born between 1940 and 1990 have experienced some infectious complication resulting from circumcision, with an unreported and unknown incidence of long-term effect.

Williams notes that, "Although hemorrhage and sepsis are the main cause of morbidity, the variety of complications is enormous. The literature abounds with reports of morbidity and even death as a result of circumcision."3 In his statement, Williams of course did not account for other lifelong circumcision pathology.

Apropos of lifelong effects, these figures do not include infant circumcision complications that may manifest sexually or psychologically in the male in later life. As with physical effects, these sexual or psychological complications may go unacknowledged, unspoken and/or unreported by the average circumcised male who suffers from them.


References

1   Figures rounded. Source: Vital Statistics of the United States, vol. 1 - Natality, 1989, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services and Statistical Abstracts of the United States, 113th Edition, 1993, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census. Exact number of births was not listed by the Census for years 1-4 and 6-9 of each decade. Thus, a constant and conservative birth rate was assumed for these years based on the rate previously reported in years 0 and 5 of each decade respectively.

2   Bigelow, Jim Ph.D. The Joy of Uncircumcising!, Hourglass, Aptos, CA 1992 (Fig. 3-1, Adapted from Wallerstein), p. 19. Circumcision rate for each of the nine years in each decade from 1940 to 1990 was assumed to be as conservative as that known at the turn of each decade respectively. From 1981 to 1988, a constant average annual decline of 3% was also assumed, and a slower decline of 2% was assumed from 1989 to 1990, the period immediately after the AAP modified its strong anti-circumcision policy.

3   Williams, N. and Kapila, L. Complications of Circumcision. British Journal of Surgery, vol. 80, pp. 1231-1236, October 1993.

4   Death rate estimated at between 1 in 24,000 and 1 in 500,000. Source: Thompson, Robert S. Routine Circumcision in the Newborn: An Opposing View. Journal of Family Practice, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 189-196, 1990. At the present rate of over 1.25 million infant circumcisions annually, the estimated death rate of 1 in 24,000 translates to one infant death per week (52 deaths annually). An estimated death rate of 1 in 500,000 translates to one infant death every 152 days (between 2 and 3 deaths annually).

5   Report of the AAP Task Force on Circumcision. Pediatrics, vol. 84, no. 4, pp. 388-391, August 1989.

6   Ibid.

7   Wiswell, T.E., et al. Circumcision in Children Beyond the Neonatal Period. Pediatrics, vol. 92, no. 6, pp. 791-793, December 1993.

8   Wilcox, N. Male Breast and Pelvic Exam: Introduction to Clinical Medicine, School of Medicine, University of California/San Francisco, p.25, 1994.

9   Ibid., p. 27

 

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