Circumcision is the surgical removal of the bulk of the foreskin (or prepuce), the sleeve of skin that falls forward from the shaft of the penis covering the tip of the penis. This operation exposes the head (or glans) of the penis. It may be done in adults or older children under general anesthesia or in neonates under local or no anesthesia depending upon the technique and practice.


There is at least 5000 years of human experience with circumcision. It penetrated most cultures and currently approximately 30% of males around the world are now circumcised.

It is probably the most commonly performed operation in the world.

Circumcisions became less commonly performed in Australia after some medical groups determined it to be a medically unnecessary procedure in the late 1970’s/ early 1980’s.

Between 5 and 18% of male infants in Australia are currently being circumcised, depending upon which state you are living in, dropping from approximately 60% of Australian boys in the 1960’s.

The current trend varies dependant upon the ethnic/ cultural demographics and upon the attitude and influence of doctors in each state whether for or against.

Most circumcisions are performed in the neonatal period (the first six weeks of life). A further 5% of the male population who are not circumcised as an infant, will have a circumcision later in life.