n South African Medical Journal - Circumcision - what's wrong with plastic rings? : issues in medicine : forum

Volume 102, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



A key issue facing countries that are scaling up circumcision services is the technical difficulty, resources used, complications, and time to healing using open surgical techniques, the only methods approved by the major external funding agency, PEPFAR. The WHO has developed a framework for evaluating new circumcision devices, and two promising disposable plastic devices that have been partially evaluated are the Shang Ring and the Prepex system. However, given South Africa's disastrous experience with the Tara KLamp, healthy scepticism about plastic ring devices is justified.

The Gomco clamp has been used in children and adults since 1935 in the USA, but there are no published studies demonstrating its use in adults. Cyanoacrylate tissue adhesive, widely used in all areas of medicine, has been shown to be superior to sutures in circumcision in terms of safety, ease of use, operative time, and cosmetic results. Our experience in Mozambique suggests that Gomco clamp circumcision plus tissue adhesive closure meets all the WHO criteria for the ideal circumcision technique, and we strongly recommend that African researchers conduct clinical trials to compare it with open surgical circumcision.

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