Male Circumcision Rates in the UK: National Survey Results

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A countrywide survey on circumcision rates and practices in the UK was launched in January 1999. Our research indicates that up to 91% of these procedures could be avoided. The findings also imply that circumcision is performed more frequently than is medically necessary across the nation, with minimal regulation, and without laboratory evidence that the diagnosis and procedure were suitable.


7,115 circumcisions were carried out in 1997–1998 by the participating Health Authorities (total population: 13,240,303). This equals to 32,000 incidents annually across the country.

The data below show the percentile ranges for the four most common justifications for performing circumcision, broken down by diagnosis:

Phimosis (44% to 91%): The number of boys in England as a whole who are currently circumcised for “phimosis,” at 3.3/1000 per year, consequently exceeds by more than eight times that expected from the present estimate of the incidence of pathological phimosis, according to an article published in the British Journal of Urology International (1999, 84,101-102).

BXO (Balanitis xerotica obliterans) (1% – 16%): several health authorities claimed 0%. According to certain reports, circumcision is useless at stopping or treating BXO. It responds to treatment with a carbon dioxide laser, topical testosterone, or corticosteroids.

Balanoposthitis (1%–12%): Infections include both balanitis and posthitis. Antibiotics can be used as a conservative treatment for recurring infections.

Religion and ritual (1%–12%): You have a right to, in the words of the NHS Patients Charter (1995), “access health treatment based on your clinical need, not on your capacity to pay, your lifestyle, or any other criteria.”

Guidelines and Audits

For the medical profession, guidelines offer direction and processes. Audits determine if a Health Authority’s practices adhere to the most recent rules or regulations.

  • A policy for the management of foreskin function issues was not provided by any respondents.
  • A review of their circumcision procedures was not possible by any Health Authority.

Age at time of surgery

Patients aged 0 to 6 receive 30% of all full or partial circumcision procedures. Before the age of 10, 45% of procedures are done.

Histological Discoveries

Laboratory findings include histological findings. Test results either support or contradict the initial diagnosis. No Health Authority provided any of the centrally stored histology data.


Health Authorities have a financial incentive to lower their circumcision rates. Health Authorities currently spend between £50,000 and £150,000 annually on circumcision, according to conservative estimates. Some private trusts are investing about £40,000.

Our Comments

The numbers truly speak for themselves, it’s no wonder that so many men are using online resources to seek information. Many turn to foreskin restoration in an attempt to get their penis sensitivity back. Others have commented on the remarkable effects that using a penis pump has had on their physical, as well as psychological well being.

While both restoration and other alternative treatments exist, we frequently wonder when the general public outlook on circumcision will change. Even the Property Brothers are circumcised differently.

Despite the several men constantly commenting that their botched circumcision has caused them to obsess over the measurements of their penis size, it doesn’t seem to have an impact on the general population.

If you’d like to learn more about foreskin restoration or penis pumps, check out our recent post – What is a penis pump. We’d like to take this time to thank the readers of NORMUK because we know you share our feelings regarding unnecessary circumcision.

The intent of all NORMUK content is to provide knowledge for educational purposes only. It is not meant to be interpreted as medical or legal advice . Always speak with a physician before applying any recommendations seen on NORMUK, or anywhere else on the internet.

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