About every 5-6 years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reexamines its policy statements to ensure current research and literature justifies the positions it takes. Often, no-to-minimal changes are made but in some situations, dramatic shifts in viewpoint may follow. But bottom-line, a thorough examination of current research must occur before changes (or non-changes) in policy statements are made.
Now probably one of the most controversial areas the AAP touches upon is the issue of infant circumcision as public opinions are usually both strong and vocal. And back in 1999 (with reaffirmation in 2005,) the AAP stated there were some potential
health benefits of circumcision but not
enough to outweigh the risks. But as new research has emerged over the last few years, the AAP has modified its stance by stating the medical benefits of circumcision do
outweigh the small risks. More specifically, the task force involved in creating the new policy statement analyzed over 1,000 research articles published between 1995 and 2000 and some of the conclusions include:
- Circumcision does reduce the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) during the first year of life.
- Circumcision also, later in life, reduces the risk of penile cancer as well as the risk of HIV transmission and acquiring other sexually transmitted diseases (herpes, syphilis, HPV.)
- In regard to the risks of performing a circumcision, they continue to remain low.
So the question becomes what is the take-home point of the updated policy statement? Firstly, I do agree it’s important all parents of male newborns are aware of the potential medical health benefits of a circumcision; but as is stated in the policy statement, also agree no formal recommendation for routine circumcision needs to follow. The decision of routine circumcision ultimately falls upon the parents of the child and as a Pediatrician, my goal is to make sure parents are fully educated to the current medical research and literature.
- Dr. Jeremy
RELATED FROM AROUND THE WEB