NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Few Risks Or Benefits Found In Circumcision

January 11, 2000

Circumcising newborn males causes virtually no medical harm, but offers practically no benefit, concludes a study in Pediatrics.

  • Infants who are circumcised have a 1-in-476 chance of complications; by comparison, there is a 1-in-20 chance of complications from refractive eye surgery.
  • But circumcision has little or no benefit in preventing urinary tract infections and penile cancers, say the researchers.

The study was based on a review of 354,297 boys born in Washington state hospitals from 1987 to 1996, and was led by Dimitri Christakis of the University of Washington Child Health Institute.

Source: Michelle Healy, "Circumcision Risks Rare," USA Today, January 11, 2000.


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