Hypospadias (hypo-spay-dee-us) is a condition in which the opening of the urethra (the tube that transport urine through the penis) is not located at the tip of the penis. The opening can be found anywhere along the length of the penis. In hypospadias, the foreskin is not complete and many boys also have Chordee (cor-dee). Chordee is a curve to the penis caused by the incomplete formation of the urethra. Hypospadias and Chordee can be repaired using the foreskin or other penile skin to form the urethra. Most boys will have their hypospadias corrected with one outpatient surgery; occasionally the repair will require more than one operation to correct.
Hypospadias can be mild or severe. Boys with more severe hypospadias cannot urinate while standing and may eventually have difficulty with sexual intercourse. The repair will make the child's penis look more like other boys' and allow him to urinate in a standing position. Fertility may be impaired in children with more severe hypospadias; your urologist will be able to advise you if this is a concern. The surgery to correct mild hypospadias takes about two hours to perform and the child will have a small plastic dressing call Tegaderm around the incision. The sutures will dissolve and do not need to be removed. Each child is seen one week after the operation to check the incision.
The cause of hypospadias is not known. Researchers have not been able to determine why some boys are born with this condition. North Carolina Children's Hospital performs more than 50 hypospadias repairs each year. The most common complication of this surgery is recurrent fistula or persistent leakage of urine from the original urethral opening. At UNC, the complication rate is less than 2%. For more information, contact The Division of Pediatric Urology at the University of North Carolina Children's Hospital at (919) 966-8054.