Kids Health Info

Hypospadias 1 - What is it

  • Hypospadias is an abnormality of the penis. It affects about one in 150 boys and is usually detected at birth. There are different types of hypospadias:

    • The opening of the urethra (where the urine comes from) is not at the end of the penis but is somewhere else along the penis (see the diagram below).
    • The foreskin may be all at the back of the penis (dorsal hood) and may have none on the undersurface.
    • The penis may not be straight (has a bend in it and this is called a chordee).
    • There is not a straight stream of urine.



    The treatment options depend on how severe the hypospadias is.  Investigations of the urinary tract are sometimes done to make sure that there are no other problems, especially when the abnormality is more severe.

    Unless very mild, hypospadias is usually corrected by surgery to:

    • enable the boy to be able to stand to urinate with a straight stream of urine
    • correct the bend so it is not painful to get an erection
    • make the penis look normal.

    The age for correction is from six to 18 months of age, depending on a number of factors. You will need to discuss this with your child's surgeon. More than one operation may be required.

    It is not advisable for your son to be circumcised before surgery. The foreskin may need to be used in the operation. After the surgery the penis can be made to look circumcised if the parents choose.

    Hypospadias surgery is a difficult area of surgery. It should be only done by an experienced paediatric urologist.

    More information

    Please read the Kids Health Info factsheets: 

    Developed by the RCH Urology Department 2005.  Updated November 2010.

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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.