Botched circumcisions


TIME flies. I find it difficult to believe it has been nearly four years since I met up with Philip Golingai in a café in Hartamas and planned to set up a column in The Star Online.

Our goal was to deal with sexual issues faced by readers which were permissible to be discussed within the context of Malaysian sensitivities.

I will never forget the day I was introduced to Twitterjaya at The Star headquarters.

I must admit, I was terrified of the “live bombardment” of questions from readers. I was not sure whether I was frightened of the handling Twitter for the first time, or providing instant answers to sexual questions without “crossing the line”! Incidentally, I am still as clueless about Twitter as I was three-and-a-half years ago (sorry, Phil)!

I really would like to take this opportunity to thank Phil for trusting me to “push the envelope” and remain within boundaries. Of course, I also would like to express my gratitude to the readers for having the courage to share their embarrassing bedroom problems with the other readers. I really appreciate the support for the column over the years, including attending a talk at Menara Star. I also would like to apologise to a few readers who never had their letters published.

Looking back on the all the articles published every Sunday, we have addressed quite a few sexual dysfunction issues ranging from one year without sex, premature ejaculation and wet dreams to matters of size. I really hope, the answers provided some guidance for the issues, which are often too hard to mention.

I also would like to thank readers for giving me valuable feedback on the column. I know, the articles have become repetitive! As one reader put it: “I am sorry. I stopped reading the column. I found the subjects repetitive. I guess it is not your fault. When it comes to sexual matters, how many ways are there to skin a cat?”.

Well, today is the first day of 2017. It is also a new beginning for “Ask Dr G”. To stay relevant in dealing with up-to-date men’s health and sexual health topics, I encourage you to email me your questions related to topical current events, and put Dr G on the spot! When Dr G is on the spot, he will try to be brief and straight to the point!

Dear Dr G,

I am sure you were equally horrified when you learned about two boys who lost their penises in botched circumcisions. How can that be possible? How can the doctors “accidentally” amputate the penis during a common operation like circumcision? Why is the second boy's penis unable to be reattached? What will be the long-term complications for the first boy who had his penis reconnected? I know I have put Dr G on the spot. But I think these are important questions for many concerned parents (and adults).

Yours sincerely,
Han

It is absolute tragic and sad for the two boys to have lost their penises.

As I understand it, two separate incidents occurred -- on Dec15 and 20.

The first incident was reported to involve the complete severing of a nine-year-old boy's glans penis by scissors, while in the second case the injury to a 10-year-old boy was by way of laser circumcision.

Circumcision is one of the commonest operations in medicine and is usually safe with low morbidity (0.2%-0.6%), ranging from bleeding and infection. Serious complications often occur when the intervention is performed in unregulated practice environments. Even in a hospital environment, circumcision may not be so straight-forward when the boy is chubby and especially with a small retracted penis within the pubic “baby fat”.

Although partial or complete amputation of the penis is rare, it is well documented in medical literature.

The re-attachment of the glans penis is complex in the case of severed adult penises. Needless to say, in a paediatric setting, the reattachment of urethra, minute penile vessels and nerves can be a near impossible task.

The success for the reattachment of penises in children is, however, not well recorded. Although the reproductive function of the child is preserved, the psychological and physical consequences to the boys can be immense. The re-attached penis may be deformed, shortened and depleted of sensitivity for normal sexual functions. The outcome of the external genitalia following puberty is also unpredictable!

The parting advice from Dr. G who has been put on the spot this New Year’s Day is: “When considering having a circumcision for your sons or yourself, the risk is significantly reduced in a proper hospital operative environment. After all, the penis is the pride of men that is worthy of care of professionals!”

On that note, Happy New Year!

> The views expressed are entirely the writer's own.


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