Before the Surgery 1

Use of a circumstraint proves babies feel pain, otherwise no restrain would be needed.

Use of a Circumstraint to keep the boy from moving proves that the procedure is difficult and risky.

  1. The baby boy is taken from his mother to where the procedure will be performed. It is not a sterile operating room. Often, other boys are circumcised at the same time.
  2. He is strapped spread-eagle to a hard restraining board. Experts say being restrained with his legs and arms away from his body is emotionally traumatic—essentially the opposite of swaddling.
  3. The penis is swabbed with Betadine antiseptic, usually causing him to have an erection. A psychologist wrote, “Circumcision is where sex and violence meet for the first time.”2
  4. Only about one-fourth of babies will receive anesthesia,3 while adults always receive anesthesia.4 Anesthesia might reduce his pain somewhat, but no anesthesia is effective at eliminating all of his pain.5

NEXT: What happens during a circumcision

This information has been reviewed by our panel of experts and other trusted advisors, however, it is not a substitute for professional medical, legal, or spiritual advice.

  1. HealthWise Medical Reference, Available online at: Last Updated: February 19, 2008.
  2. Jeannine Parvati Baker. Ending circumcision: Where sex and violence first meet. Primal Renaissance: The Journal of Primal Psychology. 1996;2(1):54-58.
  3. Stang HJ, Snellman LW. Circumcision Practice Patterns in the United States. Pediatrics. 1998;101(6):e5.
  4. Holman JR, Stuessi K. Adult Circumcision. American Family Physician. 1999;67(6):1514-1520.
  5. Lander J, Brady-Fryer B, Metcalfe JB, Nazarali S, Muttitt S. Comparison of ring block, dorsal penile nerve block, and topical anesthesia for neonatal circumcision. JAMA. 1997;278:2158-62.