A poll about circumcision on an on line magazine concerned with pregnancy and parenting interests so far proves that 80% of parents prefer that their boys be circumcised. I voted with the majority. I have to say, I don’t even wear turtle neck sweaters.
This poll inspired me to research a little further. Could I come up with any information outside of the typical “how does circumcision affect hygiene?” I thought that if I couldn’t come up with anything more interesting and unique than that, I wouldn’t bother to bore myself or anyone else with a trite article. The Internet search paid off big-time upon finding a pediatrician, who is renowned among his peers for taking this common, simple procedure to a new level. I contacted him immediately, and he graciously agreed to an e-mail interview:
K~ Dr. Abraham, do you consider it a strange coincidence that as an expert at this procedure you have the same name as the old testament patriarch who by God’s instruction, instituted this procedure thousands of years ago as a ritual, and a mark of faith?
Dr. A~ Not really. I drew the parallel myself before I specialized in pediatrics. It enticed me to delve a little deeper into this procedure, also considered a ceremonial ritual, called a bris that has been carried on by this Patriarch’s decedents, my family included, since the time of Genesis.
K~ O.K., let me get this asked-a-million-times question out of the way: How does circumcision bear on personal hygiene?
Dr. A~ No doubt that genital hygiene is easier for the circumcised male, especially in early years, and much later in life. Although, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to pull back the foreskin and apply a little soap and water. I’m just glad I was the boy who heard from his mother, “don’t forget to wash behind your ears” and not the one who uncomfortably had to listen to -“don’t forget to pull back your foreskin and polish that little helmet.”
K~ Are there any other medical benefits that can be attributed to circumcision?
Dr. A.~ Certainly. There is a markedly lower incidence of urinary tract infections in circumcised males. Also, two medical conditions that only affect the uncircumcised can be all together avoided. The first being foreskin infections that can occur throughout childhood. The other is a condition where the foreskin can not be retracted from the head of the penis, called phimosis. The normality or abnormality of phimosis and its treatment is actually a topic of debate surrounding circumcision.
K~ What sets you apart from other pediatricians in matters of the foreskin?
Dr. A ~ I’ve done quite a bit of experimentation with the amputated skins. I’ve developed a method to “quilt” these small specimens of skin together, creating one sheet of viable skin tissue. A small section of this “foreskin cloth” was used to treat a toddler who suffered a burn injury that caused the loss of his eyelids. Because the thickness and texture of foreskin is so similar to the skin that makes up the eyelid, the plastic surgeon was able to perform a successful reconstruction of the boy’s eyelids by grafting in this skin that I developed in the lab.
K~ Quite a story! Is your plan to bank this skin for future uses in plastic surgery?
Dr. A~ No. Unfortunately it is too difficult to keep this delicate tissue alive for an extended period of time. The remainder of the specimen that I grew died off, turning into a thin leather, that instead of discarding as medical waste, I subsequently crafted into a very unique wallet.
K~ That is incredible!
Dr. A~ Yes it is. But what I find absolutely amazing is that when I rub this wallet, it turns into a briefcase.
K~ Very funny Doc. By the way, what is the prognosis on the little boy?
Dr. A~ As he grows, the scaring will disappear, and the surgeon is planning to implant some artificial eyelashes. After that, the injury will be virtually undetectable. But until then he will be a little cock eyed.