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Circumcision Scars, Bumps, and Lumps (Another Truth They Won’t Tell You)

Circumcision Scars, Bumps, Lumps, and Consequences

Significant scars, bumps, and lumps as a result of circumcision are often not even mentioned as potential side effects. However, these deformities can cause both physical and psychological distress.

By providing a comprehensive understanding of this overlooked aspect of circumcision, we aim to help readers make more informed decisions about the procedure. These choices have lasting effects and should be made with a complete awareness of the immediate procedure aftermath and the possibility of long-term complications, such as scars, bumps, and lumps.

Circumcision Scars: A Permanent Reminder

After a circumcision, a scar usually forms where the foreskin is removed, resulting in a noticeable line or change in color on the penis shaft. The look of the circumcision scar can differ from person to person, ranging from a faint line to a more prominent, thicker scar. Hypertrophic or keloid scarring may arise, which can cause unsightly raised or irregular scarring. Skin bridges may also emerge in more severe instances.

Circumcision scars can have multiple physical effects. They can decrease sensitivity or cause uncomfortable sensations like itching and pain, which may interfere with sexual activities and cause distress. Additionally, pronounced or irregular scars could lead to difficulties during erections or sexual intercourse.

Circumcision scars can also have psychological effects in addition to physical ones. They can serve as a constant reminder of the procedure and result in feelings of loss, anger, or dissatisfaction with the penis’s appearance. These feelings can lead to problems with self-esteem, body image, and intimate relationships. It’s crucial to acknowledge and address these possible effects to provide complete care and support for people affected by circumcision scars.

Remaining Intact is the Best Way to Avoid Scars

An article on circumcision scarring on healthline.com lists the various devices used for circumcision on an infant, ranging from the gomco clamp, over which the foreskin is pulled and clamped to cut off blood flow to the skin. In contrast, a doctor uses a scalpel to remove the foreskin from a mogen clamp into which the foreskin is inserted and then removes it with a scalpel from a plastibell device inserted between the foreskin and over the glans for removal by the scalpel of the foreskin (the plastic ring remains to help the skin reattach to the shaft). Stitching may be required if excess bleeding occurs.

If reading this makes you squirm and feel uncomfortable, why would you subject an infant to it?

Scarring is an inevitable and “normal” result of infant circumcision. Recommendations are made for minimizing scarring, like applying petroleum jelly to prevent friction between the penis and diaper and washing the penis wound with soap and water. Adults are warned not to scratch as their circumcision heals and feels itchy. Infants will feel the discomfort of itching, but no attention will be paid since they can’t yet communicate other than crying.

There is no medical benefit or reason for causing this discomfort to an infant or creating a lifelong scar carried into adulthood.

Bumps and Lumps: Unexpected After-effects of Circumcision

The formation of bumps and lumps after circumcision is another after-effect of circumcision not commonly mentioned that can have a significant impact. These formations are a result of the body’s healing process, in which abnormal skin or tissue growth might occur due to the trauma caused by circumcision.

A skin bridge can occur when a wound sticks to the glans, resulting in a bridge of skin between two typically separate areas. Pain can be a long-term effect of skin bridges, especially during sexual activity or erections. Granuloma is a type of formation that occurs when the body produces excess tissue during healing. It can show up as small, firm bumps on the site of the circumcision. Although they are generally not painful, they can cause cosmetic concerns due to their visible appearance. Another type of lump that may develop is an inclusion cyst, which happens when skin cells are trapped under the skin during the healing process. They are typically small and painless. Bumps and lumps may require surgical correction, medical treatments, or psychological support.

Real-Life Experiences: Men Living with Circumcision Scars, Bumps, and Lumps

The personal stories of men who have lived with the physical after-effects of circumcision provide a moving and human outlook compared to the clinical facts and figures. These stories highlight not only the physical challenges of having scars, bumps, and lumps but also the profound impact on self-confidence, how one views one’s body, and sexual encounters.

Consider this story relayed by Intact America Board Member Marilyn Milos, “A Coming Out Story.”

Bathhouses in San Francisco were in full swing, and gay men had an opportunity to see lots of penises and the scars of circumcision on most penises. The men were shocked by the damage they saw. They told me about the extensive scarring, skin bridges, curvatures, and missing hunks and slices. Many recognized their scars and shared their reactions to the realization of what a doctor or mohel had done to them. This openness is something most straight men have never experienced; instead of witnessing the harm, they often tout the benefits of circumcision and choose to pass the scars on to their sons. As gay men began to educate themselves and others, that began to change. I asked Paul Tardiff, a gay man who had been circumcised as an adult if he’d be willing to talk about the differences he felt for a mini-documentary we were making to air during Dr. Dean Edell’s medical segment on the televised evening news. Paul agreed, and on the show, he said the difference between being intact and then circumcised is like first seeing in color and then only seeing in black and white.

Surgical Revision of Circumcision Scars, Bumps, and Lumps

Corrective surgery for scars may involve separating the dartos fascia around the penis from the underlying skin, releasing tension in the affected area, and allowing for more movement to reduce inflammation and flatten out raised tissue. Excess skin or fat tissues may be removed and stitched onto other irregularities to smoothen the skin contour. Of course, there is always the possibility of infection. The best thing is not to circumcise baby boys, which would completely prevent the need for surgical revision to begin with.


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Marilyn Fayre Milos, multiple award winner for her humanitarian work to end routine infant circumcision in the United States and advocating for the rights of infants and children to genital autonomy, has written a warm and compelling memoir of her path to becoming “the founding mother of the intactivist movement.” Needing to support her family as a single mother in the early sixties, Milos taught banjo—having learned to play from Jerry Garcia (later of The Grateful Dead)—and worked as an assistant to comedian and social critic Lenny Bruce, typing out the content of his shows and transcribing court proceedings of his trials for obscenity. After Lenny’s death, she found her voice as an activist as part of the counterculture revolution, living in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco during the 1967 Summer of Love, and honed her organizational skills by creating an alternative education open classroom (still operating) in Marin County. 

After witnessing the pain and trauma of the circumcision of a newborn baby boy when she was a nursing student at Marin College, Milos learned everything she could about why infants were subjected to such brutal surgery. The more she read and discovered, the more convinced she became that circumcision had no medical benefits. As a nurse on the obstetrical unit at Marin General Hospital, she committed to making sure parents understood what circumcision entailed before signing a consent form. Considered an agitator and forced to resign in 1985, she co-founded NOCIRC (National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers) and began organizing international symposia on circumcision, genital autonomy, and human rights. Milos edited and published the proceedings from the above-mentioned symposia and has written numerous articles in her quest to end circumcision and protect children’s bodily integrity. She currently serves on the board of directors of Intact America.


Georganne Chapin is a healthcare expert, attorney, social justice advocate, and founding executive director of Intact America, the nation’s most influential organization opposing the U.S. medical industry’s penchant for surgically altering the genitals of male children (“circumcision”). Under her leadership, Intact America has definitively documented tactics used by U.S. doctors and healthcare facilities to pathologize the male foreskin, pressure parents into circumcising their sons, and forcibly retract the foreskins of intact boys, creating potentially lifelong, iatrogenic harm. 

Chapin holds a BA in Anthropology from Barnard College, and a Master’s degree in Sociomedical Sciences from Columbia University. For 25 years, she served as president and chief executive officer of Hudson Health Plan, a nonprofit Medicaid insurer in New York’s Hudson Valley. Mid-career, she enrolled in an evening law program, where she explored the legal and ethical issues underlying routine male circumcision, a subject that had interested her since witnessing the aftermath of the surgery conducted on her younger brother. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Pace University School of Law in 2003, and was subsequently admitted to the New York Bar. As an adjunct professor, she taught Bioethics and Medicaid and Disability Law at Pace, and Bioethics in Dominican College’s doctoral program for advanced practice nurses.

In 2004, Chapin founded the nonprofit Hudson Center for Health Equity and Quality, a company that designs software and provides consulting services designed to reduce administrative complexities, streamline and integrate data collection and reporting, and enhance access to care for those in need. In 2008, she co-founded Intact America.

Chapin has published many articles and op-ed essays, and has been interviewed on local, national and international television, radio and podcasts about ways the U.S. healthcare system prioritizes profits over people’s basic needs. She cites routine (nontherapeutic) infant circumcision as a prime example of a practice that wastes money and harms boys and the men they will become. This Penis Business: A Memoir is her first book.