Should I ask for local or general anaesthetic when getting circumcised?
There are two types of anaesthetics used during surgery:
A local anaesthetic is a nerve block that numbs the area it is injected or applied to.
A general aesthetic puts you into a state of controlled unconsciousness.
What are the pros and cons of local vs general anaesthetic?
The vast majority of circumcisions in adults occur with a local anaesthetic.
This is because it is less invasive and risky than a general anaesthetic, with a quicker recovery time.
When a local anaesthetic is used it is injected into the base of your penis. The initial injection can sometimes sting a little but after a few minutes your penis will be completely numb.
You will still feel touch, but you will not feel any pain.
You remain fully awake during the procedure and can move the rest of your body as normal.
As local anaesthetic does not impact your cognitive ability you can do normal things such as drive home once your operation is complete.
This is not possible with a general anaesthetic. General anaesthetic often requires staying for several hours after your procedure as you wake up, and you may feel drowsy, disoriented or a little loopy!
For the first 24 hours after a general anaesthetic you should generally be accompanied by a responsible adult, as your memory, concentration and reflexes can be affected.
You should also avoid driving, drinking and signing any legal documents for 24-48 hours after.
For these reasons, most circumcisions in adults are performed under local anaesthetic.