CIRCUMCISION: Refining a Traditional Surgical Technique


  • Ilene Gelbaum CNM

    Corresponding author
      Ilene Gelbaum, CNM, 1188 North Euclid Street, Suite 403, Anaheim, CA 92801.
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    • Ilene Gelbaum, CNM. has been a certified nurse-midwife in a full-scope health maintenance organization practice at Kaiser Permanente, Anaheim, California, since 1981. There, she represents nurse-midwifery on the hospital's Interdisciplinary Practice Committee and is a consultant on nurse-midwifery practice, privileges, and credentialing. Ms. Gelbaum graduated from the Mount Sinai Hospital School of Nursing, New York City in 1966, volunteered three years as a public health nurse in the U.S. Peace Corps, and completed the midwifery program at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1978. She has since served three years as ACNM Chapter Chair in Los Angeles, eight years on the Board of Directors of the California Consortium for Nurse-Midwifery, Inc., and was recently appointed, to the Nurse-Midwifery Advisory Committee of the California Board of Registered Nursing. In 1937. Ms. Gelbaum was the first certified nurse-midwife to receive certification as a mohel(et) from Hebrew Union College, Los Angeles. She was a speaker on “Male Newborn Circumcision—The Nurse-Midwifery Model,” at the 35th Annual Meeting of the ACNM in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ilene Gelbaum, CNM, 1188 North Euclid Street, Suite 403, Anaheim, CA 92801.


Circumcision is a practice that dates back to the Stone Age, when flint knives were used to perform this delicate task. Since that time, different implements and techniques for their use have been employed. In 1935, an instrument that reduced the incidence of hemorrhage and infection, which continued to complicate circumcisions, was first described in the medical literature of this country; for nearly 60 years, the Gomco clamp has met and exceeded expectations despite the emergence of other clamps and devices. This article addresses refinements that have evolved in the Gomco clamp technique. These refinements combine the highest degree of safety with the least trauma to the newborn. Step-by-step detailing of this surgical skill and implications for practitioners are explored in depth.