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Meatal stenosis is a narrowing of the urethral meatus, which is the opening at the tip of the penis. If the opening becomes too narrow, difficulty with urination may exist.
Meatal stenosis is most commonly associated with circumcision. This is usually a result of the newly exposed skin of the penis rubbing against the diaper, causing chronic irritation and resulting in scarring and then narrowing of the meatus.
Stenosis can also occur after a hypospadias repair, but this risk is low (approximately 4%). Injury to the tip of the penis, inflammatory conditions and prolonged use of urinary catheters can increase the risk of this condition as well.
Male children who have been circumcised get meatal stenosis about 2% of the time.
Learn about the Department of Pediatric Urology at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Symptoms of meatal stenosis are associated normally with an upward deflected stream of urine.
Occasionally, other symptoms are present, including:
If your child shows any of these signs or symptoms, please consult your primary care physician for referral to a pediatric urologist.
To diagnose meatal stenosis, your child may void into a uroflow machine, which helps to measure the pressure the urine as it exits the body. No other tests are required.
A physical exam is required for diagnosis. Upon physical exam, a small or narrowed urethral opening is seen. Occasionally, your doctor may want to observe your child’s urinary stream for evidence of spraying or deflection.
A surgical procedure called a meatotomy is the most reliable form of treatment. This procedure involves an incision to enlarge the meatus (opening) and can be performed in clinic or in the operating room, depending on the degree of stenosis and how cooperative the patient is. Recurrence after this procedure is rare, as long as appropriate after care is given by the parent.
At Children’s Hospital Colorado, we have experienced pediatric urologists and pediatric nurses who are able to quickly diagnose this meatal stenosis. We take great care in having kid-friendly environment, and normally we are able to treat this condition efficiently and without pain directly in our clinic. Occasionally, when surgery is required, our physicians perform the procedure in the operating room.