Kids Health Info

Hypospadias 2 - Surgery

  • 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 Kids Health Info factsheet: About Hypospadias has more information.


    There are several ways to correct hypospadias. They all involve surgery (having an operation). You will need to talk to your child's surgeon about the particular procedure suitable for your son. Your son may need more than one operation.

    • The best age for surgery is from six to 18 months of age, depending on a number of factors.
    • It is not advisable for your son to be circumcised before the surgery because the foreskin may be used during the operation. 
    • After surgery the penis can be made to look circumcised if desired.
    • It is a difficult area of surgery and should only be done by a qualified paediatric urologist (a doctor that specialises in that area).

    The general principles are to:

    1. Move the hole (urethral opening) to the tip of the penis. 
    2. Close over the hole that was previously there. 
    3. Fix the bend so that the penis is straight.
    4. Remove the excess foreskin so it looks like the boy has been circumcised (or reconstruct a foreskin in selected cases).                   


    • Most boys will need a catheter or stent after the surgery. This is short-term. A side effect from some catheters is bladder spasms. Your son can have medication to help stop the spasms if they occur.
    • There may be some bleeding from the penis.
    • The wound may not heal well. Either part, or rarely all, of the wound could breakdown. Urine may then leak out of the hole. This is called a fistula.
    • The opening may narrow, which makes it more difficult to do wee (pass urine).  This is called stricture.
    • There may be incomplete correction of the bend.

    Care after surgery

    Intravenous fluids - Your son will have clear fluids going through a drip (an IV) until he can eat and drink again.

    Pain relief - Nurses will give your son regular pain relief.

    Dressing - There may be a dressing around the penis. If a dressing is used your doctor will tell you when this can come off.

    Antibiotics - If needed, these will be given through the IV drip. Your son may need to keep taking antibiotics by mouth at home.

    Keeping the area dry - Vaseline should be put in the nappy or on a pad in your son's underwear to stop his penis sticking to nappies and clothing.

    Different types of catheters


    There are many types of catheters used after surgery for hypospadias. Please talk to your child's nurse to learn more about your son's catheter(s). It is important you understand some basic principles, to ensure safe handling of your son and his catheter(s) while in hospital, and after he goes home.

    SPC (suprapubic catheter): goes directly into the bladder through the abdomen (tummy). It is put in under a general anaesthetic (during the operation).

    IDC (indwelling catheter): is passed into the bladder through the urethra (the hole in the penis where the wee comes out).

    Dripping stent: this tube in the penis allows urine from the bladder to drip out either into a nappy (younger child) or into a leg bag (older child).

    Voiding stent: this tube is in the penis and your son will wee through it while his penis heals after surgery.

    Going home

    How long your son needs to stay in hospital will depend on:

    • the type of hypospadias your son has
    • how quickly he recovers from the operation
    • how comfortable you are to take him home with a catheter, if he has one.

    Please read the next Kids Health Info factsheet:  Care at home after surgery.

    More information

    Please read the Kids Health Info factsheets: 


    Produced by the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) Departments of Urology and Surgery. First published 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.