Hypospadias is a male birth defect in which the opening of the tube that carries urine from the body (urethra) develops abnormally, usually on the underside of the penis. The opening can occur anywhere from just below the end of the penis to the scrotum. The urethra is the tube that drains urine from the bladder. In males, the opening of the urethra is normally at the end of the penis. It is the second most common birth abnormality in boys, affecting approximately 1 of every 250 males. In other words, this is a very common medical need!
Unfortunately, in many developing nations, a child may be abondoned only due to this very correctable need. The need for adoptive families for these boys is very high. In 90% of the children with this condition that live in orphanages, hypospadias is their only medical condition. Once the repair is done, these children are healthy and active.
Most often, boys with this condition have the opening of the urethra near the tip of the penis on the underside.
More severe forms of hypospadias occur when the opening is in the middle or base of the penis. Rarely, the opening is located in or behind the scrotum.
This condition may cause a downward curve of the penis during an erection. Erections are common in infant boys.
Other symptoms include:
In most cases, surgery is done before the child starts school. Today, most urologists recommend repair before the child is 18 months old. Surgery can be done as young as 4 months old. During the surgery, the penis is straightened and the opening is corrected using tissue grafts from the foreskin.
Results after surgery are most often good. Most males can have normal adult sexual activity.