Most boy babies are born with a penis that looks normal and works the way it’s supposed to, but some are born with a common congenital birth defect called hypospadias.

It occurs when the urethral opening is at or just below the junction where the glans joins the shaft of the penis. It can, however, be as far back as the scrotum. In addition, boys with hypospadias are often missing the undersurface half of their foreskin so that it forms a hood.

Hypospadias may cause deviation of the urinary stream so that the boy is forced to sit to urinate. Additionally, sexual function may be hampered by the location of the urethral opening or by the bend in the penis.

What Causes It?

Hypospadias results from incomplete development of the urethra. It is sometimes inherited – in about 7 out of 100 boys with hypospadias, the father also had it. In all other cases, the cause is usually not known.

Can a Circumcision Be Performed?

No. A circumcision should not be performed during the newborn period. The foreskin may be needed for the repair of the hypospadias.

Can It Be Corrected?

The child will not "outgrow" the problem and surgery to correct the problem will be needed. When possible, these operations are best accomplished between 6 and 18 months of age by a surgeon with experience in genital reconstruction. Most of the time repair can be achieved in a single operation.

The goal of surgery is to:

  • Straighten the shaft
  • Make the urinary channel
  • Position the urethral opening in the head of the penis
  • Circumcise or reconstruct the foreskin

What Is the Long-Term Outlook for Boys with Repaired Hypospadias?

Following surgery, most boys have normal function and a good cosmetic result. Long-term studies suggest that these boys do well emotionally as well. Fertility and potency is expected to be normal after repair.