Hypospadias

Definition of Hypospadias

Hypospadias is a birth (congenital) defect in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside, rather than at the end, of the penis.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Hypospadias affects up to 4 in 1,000 newborn boys.

Symptoms

The condition varies in severity. In most cases, the opening of the urethra is located near the tip of the penis on the underside. More severe forms of hypospadias occur when the opening is at the midshaft or base of the penis. Occasionally, the opening is located in or behind the scrotum.

Signs and tests

A physical examination can diagnose this condition. Imaging tests may be needed to look for other congenital defects.

Treatment

Infants with hypospadias should not be circumcised. The foreskin should be preserved for use in later surgical repair.

Expectations (prognosis)

Results after surgery are typically good. In some cases, more surgery is needed to correct fistulas or a return of the abnormal penis curve.

Review

Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 9/3/2010

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

Article written by

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability.