Circumcision: Nursing Care Plan

Nursing Knowledge

Circumcision: Nursing Care Plan

Male circumcision is one of the oldest surgeries, often performed not because it is medically indicated, but following cultural and religious rites. Nursing care involves being mindful of cultural specifics, wound care, and assessing for complications.
Last updated: April 12, 2024

Table of contents

Definition of male circumcision

Male circumcision is the surgical removal of the prepuce (foreskin) that covers the glans of the penis. The procedure has been performed for thousands of years, often according to cultural teachings and religious rites. Families may elect to circumcise their male infants in keeping with these traditions, for perceived hygienic benefit, or so that the newborn will resemble other men in the family.    

Circumcision is performed on 60–90% of male newborns in the United States. However, controversy exists regarding the possible medical benefits versus risks of the procedure. Circumcision is considered to be an elective procedure and not medically indicated in the majority of cases. 

Indications and contraindications

Medical indications

  • Phimosis
  • Paraphimosis
  • Recurrent urinary tract infection
  • Prevention of HIV in endemic settings 


  • Unhealthy infant
  • Anatomic anomaly or pathology
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Failure to void

Possible complications

  • Infection
  • Injury to the glans of the penis
  • Injury to the urethra
  • Foreskin adhesions
  • Phimosis 
  • Penile loss

Techniques of male circumcision 

A variety of techniques are used and differ by provider. Families may utilize a medical provider or a trained practitioner from their cultural or religious community. Encourage parents to be aware of the technique their provider will use, the possible complications, and the specific post-procedure care needs.

Pain management

Pain management differs by provider and may include a combination of techniques, such as:

  • Oral sucrose solution
  • Topical analgesic such as lidocaine
  • Injected lidocaine
  • Penile nerve block

Plastibell circumcision 

Plastibell circumcision is a newer technique involving a plastic ring placed over the glans, serving as a guide for the cut. The ring remains in place for a few days after the surgery. 

Nursing care plan for circumcision

Care plan immediately post-procedure

Monitor bleeding and the infant’s ability to void. Encourage skin-to-skin contact and infant feeding for soothing and pain management.

Instruct the family to wash the area with water only and apply petroleum jelly generously to the tip of the penis to prevent healing tissue from adhering to the diaper. 

Circumcision scar care 

After the procedure, stay vigilant to signs of infection: 

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Pus drainage
  • Increased pain/irritability
  • Fever


Circumcision: Nursing Care Plan

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