What is hypospadias?
Hypospadias is a congenital (present at birth) condition in which the penile urethra does not close properly during its development. Children born with hypospadias have a urethra that does not extend up to the end of the head of the penis. Instead, the urethra ends short and on the penile shaft. Most hypospadias urethras have the hole on the underside of the penis and not at the tip. However, in some very severe cases the urethra ends in the scrotum.
The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. It also serves as the channel though which semen is ejaculated.
Most of the time, hypospadias is diagnosed right after birth. Your child will require surgery to correct the defect at 1 year of age. Depending on the location of the urethral opening, the closer to the scrotum it is, the more difficult it is to reconstruct.
Learn more about hypospadias.
What kind of problems do adults who were born with hypospadias have?
Many former hypospadias patients reach adulthood and continue to have issues with urination or chronic urine infections. Common problems are urethral stricture, urethra- skin fistula (hole to the skin), hair in the urethra (from a prior reconstruction that used hair-bearing skin), urethral stones, or urinary tract infections.
Patients who reach adulthood with complications from childhood surgical repairs, usually present with complex problems that require further complex repairs. Such repairs typically require a combination of grafts from the lining of the inner cheek and skin flaps. Often times, more than one surgery is needed to reconstruct the complex adult hypospadias patients, in particular since local or reliable skin is absent after failed prior childhood surgeries.