Definition of Circumcision
Circumcision: Surgery that removes the foreskin (the loose tissue) covering the glans of the penis. Circumcision may be performed for religious, cultural reasons or health reasons. Newborn circumcision diminishes the risk for cancer of the penis and lowers the risk for cancer of the cervix in sexual partners. It also decreases the risk of urinary tract infections and lowers the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV.
The Latin "circum-" means around (or about). Circumcision is, literally, a cutting around. Circumcision dates back to prehistoric times. It is one of the oldest surgical operations known to have been performed by ancient people.
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012
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