Are sterile conditions essential for all forms of cutaneous surgery? The case of ritual neonatal circumcision

Sody A. Naimer*, A. Trattner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Many aspects of cutaneous surgical interventions have been perfected, employed, and then scientifically examined. Conversely, ubiquitous, indiscriminate demand for sterile conditions while performing an invasive procedure remains a field devoid of satisfactory critical appraisal. Objective: Ritual neonatal circumcision served as a prototype to assess scientifically the safety of performing a dermatologic intervention under clean, uncontaminated, but nonsterile conditions. Methods: Two hundred subjects, mostly neonates, who were unselectively referred for ritual circumcision, served as the study group. The guillotine excisional technique was employed in the community setting under clean, uncontaminated, nonsterile conditions, in line with traditional practice. Follow-up was continued until full recovery. Results: No wound infections or septic complications were observed in any of the babies at either early (24-36 hours after the procedure) or late follow-up. Many subjects had an exudative discharge at the healing site several days after the procedure. This is a common finding associated with circumcision and was found to be nonindicative of infection. Conclusions: This preliminary study suggests that strict sterile conditions are superfluous for ritual neonatal circumcision, and the effort and expense invested in maintaining an aseptic environment for this sort of intervention may not be justified. Further large-scale investigations are warranted to validate these findings and to determine if they can be extrapolated to other patient populations and other types of cutaneous surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-180
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Are sterile conditions essential for all forms of cutaneous surgery? The case of ritual neonatal circumcision'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this