With hypospadias, the opening of the urethra develops on the underside of the penis. The urethra is the tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body so that urine can exit. In most boys, the opening is at the tip. The penis may also have a downward curve. This is called
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Hypospadias occurs when the penis develops while the child is in the uterus. The cause of hypospadias is usually not known.
Risk factors include:
- Family history of hypospadias
Mother being older or having
in vitro fertilization
- Environmental exposures or fetal growth problems during the pregnancy
Symptoms may include:
- Opening of urethra is not at the tip—may be near the underside of the penis head, along the shaft of the penis, or at the base of the penis
- Downward curvature of the penis
- Abnormal spray when urinating
- Foreskin that only covers part of the head of the penis
This condition is usually diagnosed at birth. More tests may be done if your child has other conditions.
With mild forms, no treatment is needed. If the condition causes functional problems, surgery
may be done. The surgery is done by a doctor called a pediatric urologist.
If the urethral tissues cannot be brought back together, tissue grafts are used, usually from the foreskin or inside of the mouth. These grafts are used to:
- Reconstruct the opening of the urethra
- Straighten a curved penis
Surgery is typically done when the child is 6-18 months old, but may be done at any age.
There are no current guidelines to prevent hypospadias.
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
Hypospadias. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113719/Hypospadias. Updated June 28, 2016. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Hypospadias: a birth defect of the penis. Healthy Children—Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at:
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/genitourinary-tract/Pages/hypospadias-a-birth-defect-of-the-penis.aspx. Updated November 21, 2015. Accessed September 7, 2017.
EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
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