Hypospadias is a birth defect in which the urinary opening in your child’s penis is missing or deformed. It affects approximately 1 in 200 newborn boys.
Most boys with milder forms of hypospadias don’t need surgery to correct them. However, some will have problems if they’re left untreated. These problems include a partially formed foreskin, urine spraying to the side or downward and embarrassment about their appearance.
What is a hypospadias?
A hypospadias is a birth defect that affects the urethra. It occurs only in males and is not usually serious.
Healthcare providers diagnose this condition at birth, usually with a physical examination. They will check for a hole in the penis or foreskin that isn’t formed properly, and they’ll call a pediatric urologist if they suspect it’s a problem.
Children with mild or moderately severe hypospadias can have surgery at an early age, while boys with more severe defects are typically not circumcised. The repair goal is to straighten the penis (if chordee is present) and create an opening in the urethra at the penis’s tip.
How is hypospadias repaired?
Hypospadias is one of the most common birth defects in infants. It occurs in 1 in 200 newborn boys and is usually treated with surgery to restore cosmesis and function.
The repair is a very safe and effective procedure that can often be done at once. The repair reconstructs your child’s urethra to the tip of their penis, making it possible for them to pee and ejaculate normally.
It can take some time for your child’s penis to fully heal after the repair. At first there may be redness, swelling and bruising.
Sometimes it takes months for the wound to completely heal. This is normal and can be a good thing. Some slight imperfections are also expected to resolve during this time. It is important to let your child’s urologist know if any problems occur.
What are the risks of a hypospadias repair?
Hypospadias is a common congenital condition in boys that occurs when the urethra doesn’t go to the top of the penis. This can cause problems with urination and sexual function.
When the urethra isn’t in the right place, urine can flow into the scrotum and cause infections. This can lead to bladder problems later in life, such as incontinence.
Sometimes, the urethra is in the wrong place because the foreskin hasn’t completely formed on its underside. This is called a “dorsal hood.”
The problem can also be caused by an abnormally large testicle that hasn’t fully dropped into the scrotum. If these problems aren’t corrected, they can cause a lot of trouble in a boy’s life. It can affect his social and emotional development.
How long will a hypospadias repair take?
Most boys with hypospadias are treated with surgery. This straightens the penis and places the hole in the right location.
Most surgeries are done on an outpatient basis. Some older children may need an overnight stay if they have severe pain after surgery.
The procedure will take about two to three hours. After surgery, a healthcare provider covers the stitches with bandages and secures the stent (tube) in your child’s penis.
The catheter will remain in the penis for five to 14 days. You can bathe your child 24 to 48 hours after surgery, depending on when the bandage is removed.
What happens during a hypospadias repair?
Hypospadias repair is a surgical procedure that corrects a penis that doesn’t open at the tip. It usually has good results and is safe for boys of all ages.
The operation will be done while the boy is asleep and under general anesthesia. Many anesthesiologists also use nerve blocks near the penis or in the back to reduce pain.
Your urologist will insert a tube into your child’s urethra (called a catheter) during the surgery. This tube will help drain the pee as it heals and may remain in place for up to two weeks after the surgery.
After surgery, the surgeon will place a flexible plastic tube (catheter) in the urethra and cover it with a large dressing. This is left in place for one week after the surgery.
It is very rare for problems to happen after a distal hypospadias repair. Problems may include a hole or fistula forming on the penis, a slow urinary stream or a stenosis in the opening of the urethra.