Unfortunate Outcomes: When Circumcision Goes Wrong

Male circumcision is a standard medical procedure in the United States, with approximately 1.4 million performed annually.(1) And, though the vast majority of these surgeries occur without incident, complications can, and do, arise. Whether the patient is a child, an adolescent, or an adult, when circumcision goes wrong, it is important to advocate for fair treatment and ensure the unsatisfactory outcomes of the surgery are corrected. Dr. Mohamed Bidair regularly performs circumcision revision procedures, and is a sought-after surgeon for this delicate yet life-changing operation.

Removal of the prepuce (the medical name for the foreskin) is popular for a variety of cultural, religious, and hygiene reasons. Current data evaluated by the American Society of Pediatrics indicates that the health benefits of newborn male circumcision outweigh the risks.(2) During a successful circumcision procedure, the surgeon should remove just enough of the skin that covers the glans, or head of the penis. However, in a small number of cases, improperly performed circumcisions can cause significant distress. Inadequate circumcision, excessive skin removal from the shaft, and late complications can have significant physiological and psychological ramifications

The problems that arise when circumcision goes wrong require only the most astute medical solutions. Find answers, and receive the compassionate medical care you deserve at California Adult Circumcision in La Mesa. As a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology and a member both the American Urological Association and the American Medical Association, Dr. Bidair has a formidable reputation in men’s health. Book a private consultation to address circumcision complications by calling (619) 486-5005 or by filling out an online inquiry form on our website.

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About Circumcision 

Though circumcision can be a cultural, religious or aesthetic choice for men of any age, circumcision may be medically indicated in the following instances:

  • Phimosis (where the foreskin is too tight)
  • Paraphimosis (where the foreskin becomes trapped behind the glans)
  • Chronic urinary tract infections
  • Areas with increased incidence of HIV and human papilloma virus (HPV)(3)

The most common time male circumcision occurs in the United States is as a newborn, within the first month of birth, though adult circumcision is also relatively common. Many people have an idea of what the procedure entails, there are various methods of circumcision. With newborns, the most common devices are the Gomco clamp, the Mogen clamp, and the Plastibell. Each of these procedures employs a slightly different mechanism to achieve foreskin removal. Freehand circumcision is also performed by some surgeons.(4)

Circumcision Complications

Though exact numbers are difficult to assess, some studies suggest a 0.2% complication rate where the surgery is performed by a physician. This translates to 1 in 476 surgeries.(5) Some reports suggest that circumcision complications occur more frequently with the increasing age of the patient. Excessive bleeding can occur in older babies from 4 weeks to 3 months of age. This is thought to be due to an increase in penile and prepuce size and vascularity due to hormonal changes that occur at this age.(4)  Additionally, other early complications such as pain and surgical site infection are usually corrected or mitigated swiftly. However, late complications after circumcision can arise for a number of reasons, some of which are outlined below:

Redundant Foreskin – Redundant foreskin is one of the most frequently corrected issues after initial circumcision. In the flaccid penis, part of the foreskin may still cover the glans. Where insufficient skin is removed, it can rub, develop excess scar tissue, and over time may develop into phimosis.

Secondary Phimosis – Secondary phimosis occurs where redundant inner prepuce remains after circumcision. After healing, scar tissue can develop and urination may become difficult. This condition is most often described after circumcision with the Plastibell/Gomco clamp.(6)

Buried Penis A buried penis may result in unsatisfactory cosmetic apperance, voiding problems, and sexual dysfunction. The penis itself is of normal size, but its outward profile is obscured. It occurs due to an overabundance of subcutaneous tissue and/or fat in the prepubic area. Doctors assess sexual function, including erectile dysfunction, erectile discomfort, and penetration difficulty during intercourse.(7)

Cysts and Fistulas – Epidermal inclusion cysts are a rare complication of circumcision. Cysts are pockets of material, usually fluid, that can appear on any surface of the skin, including the shaft of the penis. Similarly, patients may develop urethrocutaneous fistula following circumcision. This abnormality is an unwanted opening that can appear between the opening of the urethra and the perineum that causes abnormal urine leakage.

If you have questions about a prior circumcision, and would like to know if you are a candidate for a revision surgery, please get in touch. Call Dr. Bidair’s La Mesa location at (619) 486-5005 and take the first step toward comfort, increased confidence, and improved quality of life. You can also fill out a confidential form on our website.

Personal Consultation with Dr. Bidair

Dr. Bidair will meet with you to talk through the problems you have been experiencing after a circumcision has gone wrong. He and his staff will exercise discretion and understanding of your situation at all times. We will ask you to provide some details of your prior surgery, where known, and ask you to fill out our patient intake forms. Dr. Bidair will conduct a physical examination and observe the relationship of the skin of the shaft with the glans and surrounding area. He will note any abnormalities and ask you to describe any discomfort or difficulty you have experienced with functionality. He will then formulate a treatment plan to revise your circumcision effectively.

Circumcision Revision Procedure

Dr. Bidair assesses every patient as an individual. There are several methods to address complications that arise from circumcision, therefore the exact nature of your surgery will be unique to your circumstances. Generally, revision circumcision and other procedures such as phimosis correction are performed by Dr. Bidair under general anesthetic. At your personal consultation, he will assess your condition, outline the exact method of your treatment, and provide detailed written information on how to prepare for your surgery date, and the necessary arrangements you need to make for your recovery. but the average procedure to correct them is usually no longer than an hour in duration.

Please see our website for detailed information about when to schedule a circumcision procedure and what to expect from circumcision recovery.

Cost of Revision Circumcision in San Diego, CA

The cost of a revision circumcision procedure performed by Dr. Bidair will vary according to each individual case. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us by phone at (619) 486-5005 or by completing a simple online inquiry form.

Read Dr. Bidair’s informative blog to learn more about circumcision, men’s health, and aesthetic procedures for men.


What do I do if I suspect my/my child’s circumcision was botched?

The best course of action following a suspected surgical error is to visit a specialist provider at the earliest convenience. Doctors who specialize in men’s health, urologists, and surgeons who specialize in circumcision can accurately assess if an error has occurred and whether further treatment to rectify the condition is necessary.

Can scar tissue get worse after circumcision?

In rare cases, a condition known as secondary phimosis can occur after circumcision. Scar tissue can develop due to inadequate surgery to remove the foreskin, often causing discomfort, urinary issues, and sexual dysfunction. Speak to a circumcision specialist to assess your condition and evaluate the need for a revision circumcision procedure to address the problem.

How often do circumcisions go wrong?

It is estimated that a small percentage of circumcisions result in significant complications, though definitive data is difficult to amass. One study shows a complication rate of one in 476 (0.2%) of circumcision surgeries.(5)


  1. El Bcheraoui, C., Zhang, X., Cooper, C. S., Rose, C. E., Kilmarx, P. H., & Chen, R. T. (2014). Rates of Adverse Events Associated With Male Circumcision in US Medical Settings, 2001 to 2010. JAMA Pediatrics, 168(7), 625–634. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.5414 
  2. Blank, S., MD, Brady, M. M., Buerk, E. M., Carlo, W. M., Diekema, D. M., Friedman, A. M., Maxwell, L. M., & Wegner, S. M. (2012). Circumcision Policy Statement. PEDIATRICS, 130(3), 585–586. https://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2012-1989 
  3. Warees, W. M., Anand, S., & Rodriguez, A. M. (2021). Circumcision. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK535436/ 
  4. Krill, A. J., Palmer, L. S., & Palmer, J. S. (2011). Complications of Circumcision. The Scientific World JOURNAL, 11, 2458–2468. https://doi.org/10.1100/2011/373829 
  5. Al-Ghazo, M. A., & Banihani, K. E. (2006). Circumcision revision in male children. International Braz J Urol, 32(4), 454–458. https://doi.org/10.1590/s1677-55382006000400013 
  6. Ozdemir, T., Sayan, A., Candan, B., Orhan, G., & Koyluoglu, G. (2019). Secondary phimosis after circumcision. Türk Üroloji Dergisi/Turkish Journal of Urology, 45(2), 135–138. https://doi.org/10.5152/tud.2018.94984 
  7. Ho, T. S., & Gelman, J. (2018). Evaluation and management of adult acquired buried penis. Translational Andrology and Urology, 7(4), 618–627. https://doi.org/10.21037/tau.2018.05.06 
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