Symptoms and causes

What is it?

Hypospadia is a congenital abnormality in which the urethral opening is not on top of the penis. Hypospadia occurs in highly variable degrees of severity: sometimes it is not very severe, with the urethral opening almost in its normal position; sometimes it is very severe, and the urethral hole is at the level of the scrotum. Often, the problem of an early opening is accompanied by a curvature of the penis.

In a hypospadia, the foreskin is usually split and resembles a cape.

This condition is relatively rare and occurs in about 1 in 200 boys. This abnormality is more common in some families.

Diagnosis and treatment

Mild forms of hypospadia, in which normal sexual activity and a normal urine jet can be expected, often do not require treatment. In severe forms of hypospadia, where sexual and urinary problems are to be expected, it is best to perform surgery at an early age to correct the urethral opening. The purpose of this procedure is to lengthen the urethra so that the urethral opening reaches the tip of the penis. Any curvature of the penis will also be corrected. The surgical technique used depends on the severity of the hypospadia.

In some cultures, circumcision takes place at a young age. With a hypospadia, circumcision is not recommended because the foreskin may be necessary for the reconstruction of the hypospadia.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Urology Centre

Latest publication date: 25/01/2021
Supervising author: Dr Ameye Filip