Hypospadias is a common problem and can be fixed with a minor surgical procedure. Surgical intervention is the best solution to overcome hypospadias. Normally the opening of the urethra is at the tip of the penis, but in hypospadias, the opening is on the underside of the penis, near the head of the penis, at the mid-shaft or the base of the penis, and rarely in or beneath the scrotum. The severity of the condition varies.
The signs and symptoms of hypospadias are:
- Opening of the urethra in the location other than the tip of the penis
- Downward curve of the penis
- Hooded appearance of the penis
- Abnormal spraying during urination
The exact cause of hypospadias is unknown. Sometimes it can be inherited. It may result from a hormonal imbalance that makes the urethra develop abnormally.
The common risk factors for hypospadias include family history, maternal age over 40, and exposure to smoking and chemicals.
In mild cases, your infant may not require any correction. But, in moderate to severe conditions, a surgical repair is required to prevent sexual dysfunction in the later stages of life.
Hypospadias repair is the surgery to correct a defect in the opening of the penis which is present at birth. It is performed between ages three months and two years. During the surgery, the extra tissue of the foreskin is repaired.
Before the surgery
Before the surgery, your surgeon may ask for your child’s medical history and will make sure that your child is healthy enough for the surgery. If he is ill, the surgery may be delayed. Follow the medication order given by your doctor.
During the surgery
General anesthesia is administered to your child to make him unaware of the procedure. Mild defects can be repaired with one procedure, and severe defects may require two or more procedures. The surgeon uses a small piece of foreskin from another site to create a tube that increases the length of the urethra which allows it to open at the tips of the penis. Then the surgeon may place a catheter in the urethra to hold it in its new shape. The catheter is sewn to the head of the pennis to keep it in place and will be removed after the surgery. The stitches used in the surgery will dissolve on their own.
Why is it performed?
Hypospadias surgery is performed to overcome the problems that may occur in the later stages of life such as difficulty in controlling and directing urine stream, decreased fertility, and embarrassment about the appearance of the penis.
What are the risks of the surgery?
The risks of the procedure are
- A hole that leaks the urine
- Large blood clot
- Scarring or narrowing of the repaired urethra
After the surgery
After the surgery, your surgeon may suggest you take-home instructions to be followed. They include:
- Watch your son’s recovery and the surgical site.
- Do not allow your child to play with the toys for a day or two (to prevent the risk of infection)
- Use double diapers to provide extra cushion.
- Don’t give your child a bath for at least a week. Keep him fresh by a gentle cleaning with a damp sponge.
Immediately seek your surgeon’s help if you notice that your son has any of the following symptoms.
- High Fever
- Facing trouble while urinating
- Discoloration at the tip of the penis
- Reduced effect of pain medication
- Bleeding from the surgical site
Do not panic about the surgery. Do not hesitate to ask questions regarding the surgery and if possible have a friend or family member with you for support on the day of the surgery. The surgery is considered safe and effective for your child. Surgical repair lasts for a lifetime and leads to normal, healthy function of the penis.