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Circumcision for preventing urinary tract infection in boys: European view
  1. P S J Malone
  1. Correspondence to:
    Padraig S J Malone
    Department of Paediatric Nephro-Urology, G Level, Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust, Tremona Rd, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK;

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Commentary on the paper by Singh-Grewel et al (see page 853)

Circumcision is the commonest surgical procedure carried out in boys and it probably originated 15 000 years ago.1 It was initially done for religious, ritualistic, and cultural reasons and it was not until the 19th century that the procedure was “medicalised”. The original therapeutic circumcisions were performed for phimosis and since then indications for surgery have altered with the trends of the day. In some countries these trends turned to dogma, resulting in the virtual routine circumcision of newborn boys. It was estimated that 61% of all boys born in the USA in 1987 were circumcised.2 It is also fascinating to observe how this dogma can pervade other cultures. Traditionally Koreans did not circumcise their boys until their exposure to many thousands of American troops during the Korean War; now Korea is the only country in that region practising routine circumcision.3 This high rate of routine newborn circumcision generated concern, and in the USA the American Academy of Pediatrics issued various circumcision policy statements, the most recent being in 1999; this concluded,“Existing scientific evidence demonstrates potential benefits of newborn male …

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  • Competing interests: none declared

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