New research has revealed that circumcision is safer for baby boys than it is for older boys.
According to U.S. researchers, about 0.4% of boys may experience complications if circumcision is done during their first year of life, compared to a 20% risk if the boy is aged between one and nine. The risk is ten times higher among boys aged 10 and older.
The researchers based at Washington University in Seattle, used data from insurance claims for those under a year old, those between the ages of one and nine and boys 10 years old and above when circumcision was carried out.
The results do not include data for children who went through ritual circumcisions outside a medical environment.
The researchers made use of data on more than 1.4 million circumcisions, of which the majority were newborn babies.
The lead author of the study, Dr Charbel El Bcheraoui, said the overall risk was low, but it increases with age.
Dr Bcheraoui said that they assume the risk increased because care after the procedure becomes complicated between the ages of one and 10.
Among Jewish boys, circumcision is a ritual obligation. It is common among Muslims who have the highest proportion of circumcised males globally.
The wider population in the U.S. have adopted the practice because of the possible health benefits. It is said that the procedure reduces the risk of urinary tract infections in young boys and cuts the risk of sexually transmitted diseases in older boys.
The practice has however been the central focus of many debates, including the call to ban the procedure in Germany and San Francisco.
During 2012, The American Academy of Pediatrics updated recommendations which stated that the benefits linked to male circumcision justifies access to the procedure for families.
The JAMA Pediatrics study revealed that 0.5% of all procedures resulted in an adverse situation irrespective of the age of the person, however the rates for particular complications varied.
Urethra damage happened in around 0.8 per million procedures. Around 702 per million circumcisions resulted in too much foreskin being left behind.
The researchers stated that some of the complications may not have been taken into account as the claims they were reviewing were based on problems that occurred during the first month after the procedure.
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