Boys are born with a hood of skin, called the foreskin, covering the head (also called the glans) of the penis. In circumcision, the foreskin is surgically removed, exposing the end of the penis. Approximately 55% to 65% of all newborn boys are circumcised in the United States each year, though this rate varies by region (western states have the lowest rates and the north central region has the highest). The procedure is much more widespread in the United States, Canada, and the Middle East than in Asia, South America, Central America, and most of Europe, where it's uncommon.
Parents who choose circumcision often do so based on religious beliefs, concerns about hygiene, or cultural or social reasons, such as the wish to have their son look like other men in the family.
If you decide to have your son circumcised at the hospital, your pediatrician, family doctor, or obstetrician will perform the procedure before you bring your baby home. The doctor should prepare you by telling you about the procedure he or she will use and the possible risks. Circumcision after the newborn period can be a more complicated procedure and usually requires general anesthesia.