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Hypospadias is a difference in boys’ anatomy, easily diagnosed in a physical exam just after birth. A boy has hypospadias when the opening from which he pees is not at the tip of the penis. Risk factors for hypospadias are still not completely understood, but researchers believe hypospadias has a genetic link.
Mild cases of hypospadias can go undetected at birth. If so, parents can help detect it by noticing a downward curve in the penis (chordee), spraying during urination or abnormal location of child’s meatus (pee hole).
There are three categories of hypospadias, including:
Some boys with hypospadias may also have inguinal hernias or undescended testicles. In some cases, children with hypospadias may have other genital or urinary tract abnormalities, but most of the time, hypospadias is an isolated condition.
At Riley at IU Health, our pediatric urologists work with other specialists through our Pediatric Continence Program and/or our Disorders of Sexual Differentiation Program to find the best treatment plan for your child. Our team of specialists is ready to support you and your child through diagnosis and treatment.
Sometimes hypospadias is such a minor issue that treatment is unnecessary. In these cases, your baby boy can be circumcised as any other, if you wish. Even in mild cases, some families choose surgery for cosmetic reasons.
For more severe hypospadias, surgery is necessary to restore the normal appearance and preserve sexual function of a penis. Our pediatric urologists use established procedures with favorable long-term outcomes for children.
Children who have surgery for hypospadias usually need only one procedure to restore normal anatomy and appearance. Surgery repositions the urethral meatus (pee hole) and straightens the penis. The optimal age for your child’s surgery is usually around 9 to 12 months, depending on the severity and type of hypospadias. Severe penile anomalies may require surgery in stages to move the urethra, correct the curve of the penis and cover the penis with skin. Circumcision is typically done at the same time hypospadias is corrected.
If your child’s anatomy requires surgery, your physician may encourage you to delay your son’s circumcision because the foreskin can be used to make repairs. Complications are rare, but that often depends on the severity of the condition. Afterwards, your child can lead a normal, healthy life.
Pediatric urologists at Riley at IU Health are expertly trained to correct this difference. Our team treats 300 to 400 children each year for hypospadias.
Hypospadias surgery is usually an outpatient surgery and your child should be able to go home the same day. Sometimes your child has a small stent (plastic tube) in their penis to allow the repair to heal. Your child’s penis will be covered with a plastic dressing that stays for seven to 10 days, but he should return to normal within two days.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
This organization has ties with the American Urological Association and advances research and education in urological care, working with healthcare providers, patients and caregivers. Their website provides articles and information on conditions such as hypospadias.
The CDC is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which exists to protect Americans from health threats. The CDC publishes health information on conditions such as hypospadias.