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.

Helpful resources

Learn about the Department of Pediatric Urology at Children's Hospital Colorado.

What are the signs and symptoms of hypospadias?

Signs and symptoms include abnormal appearance of the foreskin and penis, an abnormal direction of urine stream and a downward curve to the penis.

What tests are used to diagnose hypospadias?

There are no tests required to diagnose hypospadias.

How do doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado make a diagnosis?

Hypospadias is usually diagnosed just after birth during the baby’s first physical examination. Though it’s not considered an emergency, a child with hypospadias should be referred to a pediatric urologist upon diagnosis.

How is hypospadias treated?

Surgery is required to help the urethra exit at the tip of the penis. The goal is to create a straight penis with the opening at the tip. Surgery usually takes place when the child is between 3 months to 12 months of age. It is not unusual for a child to need a second stage repair, especially for the more severe forms of this condition.

Why choose Children's Hospital Colorado for your child's hypospadias?

Children's Hospital Colorado has a team of experienced pediatric urologists who treat patients with hypospadias frequently. We work in a dedicated operating room, specifically designed for children. Because we believe that outcomes are of primary importance, we are continuously updating our success rate for patients with hypospadias and make this information available to all patients.


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