Children's Hospital Colorado

Hypospadias

What is hypospadias?

Hypospadias is a congenital defect in males which affects the urethral tube and the foreskin of the penis. The urethral opening is not located at the tip of the penis, but rather along the underside of the penis. A child with hypospadias may also have a bend to his penis, called a chordee or a curvature, and there is usually an absence of the lower portion of the foreskin.

There are different degrees of hypospadias, named according to the anatomic location of the defect. Children with hypospadias should not be circumcised at birth until evaluated by a pediatric urologist.

What causes hypospadias?

Hypospadias occurs when the penis does not form correctly. It can run in families, and new theories suggest that chemicals in the environment may impact the way the penis develops, making this condition more common. However, in the majority of patients the exact cause of hypospadias is unknown.

Who gets hypospadias?

Hypospadias occurs in 1 out of every 200 to 300 births. It is a congenital abnormality, meaning it occurs during fetal development. Hypospadias can run in families and some rare genetic causes have been identified.