January 22, 2013
Routine circumcision is insane
by Harry G Lindahl, Associate Professor of Paediatric Surgery
Helsinki University Children's Hospital
Re: "Circumcision Policy Statement" 130:3 585-586doi:10.1542/peds.2012-1989
The evolution of mammals gained speed about 65 million years ago, when a meteorite fell on Yucatan and killed the dinosaurs. For all that we know, at that time, the mammals had a foreskin. If the mammal foreskin would be such a harmful piece of tissue as the pro circumcision lobbyists claim, it certainly would have fallen off during the 65 million years of evolution. However, mammals, including the human species, still have a foreskin. Rat is the most successful mammal on this planet. It has a foreskin. Evolution is merciless, and whatever mistakes it makes about the less important organs, such as the brain or stomach, it certainly knows best about the reproductive organs.
Therefore, the claim, that there are health benefits in excising a piece of healthy tissue from the penis of a healthy neonate, is as absurd as would be the claim that amputating the left little finger of a neonate has health benefits. However, if you would make such an absurd claim, either of the prepuce or of the left little finger, you would have to provide the highest level of proof according to the principles of evidence based medicine. This means several randomized controlled studies performed by independent researchers, all having the same result. There is no such evidence, neither of the prepuce nor of the left little finger.
The AAP is having a "Circumcision task force". This is as absurd as having a task force for "The Routine Amputating of the Left Little Finger of a Neonate". Is the AAP insane? To an European Paediatric Surgeon it seems so.