Pregnancy and Parenting Features

New Technology Aids Circumcision

Creative Commons License photo credit: Chris Owen Photography

We’ve talked recently about how circumcision is proving to help combat the spread of HIV in South Africa. While circumcision for infants has been a practice that’s been around for a very long time, it’s not nearly as common in adults. Part of the reason for this, most likely, is that infants aren’t aware of what exactly is happening, and they can’t object to the fact ahead of time. (That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done, of course, just that there are reasons why it’s done during childhood. There is some evidence to suggest that circumcision during infancy is much more easily recovered than during adulthood).

Acording to a new report, grown men who wish to be circumcised now have a new option. Traditionally, circumcision has been a relatively costly procedure, requiring anesthetic, two or more health workers, and six weeks of recovery. This still makes it worth doing, especially given its potential to reduce the spread of HIV.

There are three  devices that have been approved for infant male circumcision, including the Gomco Clamp, the Mogen Clamp, and the Plastibell. These devices make the circumcision process cleaner, smoother, and easier. Now, there is a device under study that may be able to do the same thing for adult make circumcision.

The device, known as the “Shang Ring,” has been developed in China. It’s made up of an outer ring and an inner ring. The foreskin is placed between the two rings, which the exposes the glans. The device remains on the penis for seven days, after which it is then removed.

Another device is in development in Israel. It’s known as the “PrePex Device,” and it uses two rings as well as an applicator. It is used to keep blood flowing to the foreskin. After seven days of having the device attached, the foreskin is removed. This device is most interesting because it does not require anesthesia.

Finally, there is the Tara Klamp. This one has been used in Malaysia to circumcise boys. It clamps the foreskin to cut off blood supply. The clamp is supposed to fall off after a few days, along with the foreskin, but in some cases it has to be surgically removed.