(Penile Urethral Anomalies in the Male Child)
If your child has hypospadias… he has a common genital defect in his penis which can be corrected with surgery. In hypospadias, the urethral opening for urination is mislocated on the underside of the shaft, rather than at the top of the penis. There may also be a bend in the penis visible during erection. Since these two defects may make urination and sexual intercourse difficult later in life, surgery is usually prescribed.
The cause of hypospadias… is not yet known, but it results from lack of complete development of the urethra. The condition occurs once in approximately 350 male births, and occasionally may appear in more than one male in a family.
Surgical correction of hypospadias… is a technically demanding operation which should be performed by someone experienced in genital reconstruction. Surgery is best performed at an early age (8-12 months) prior to the development of long term memory in the child. While surgery is better early in your child’s life from a psychological point of view, it can also be performed at a later age when necessary.
Most repairs are achieved in a single operation which may last from two to four hours. Your child will usually be able to leave the hospital on the same day as the surgery. He may need to keep a small plastic tube in the urethra while healing occurs.
Your presence throughout the hospitalization will be a comfort.
The prognosis is excellent… for normal functioning and appearance of the penis following surgery. When they reach maturity, almost all patients will be able to have normal sexual relations and father children.
The information in this discussion serves as an introduction to the problem of hypospadias. I encourage you to personally discuss with me your questions and concerns about this condition and the procedures used to correct it.
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Richard M. Parker, M.D., F.A.A.P., F.A.C.S.