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The Division of Urology at Lurie Children’s is experienced in treating hypospadias, a condition in which the end of the urethra (the tube in the penis through which urine passes out of the body) is not located at the tip of the penis. The condition occurs in approximately 1 out of 200 newborns.

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In more than two-thirds of cases, the defect is located near the end of the penis where the abnormal opening is located either within the glans (the head of the penis) or just below the glans on the underside of the penile shaft. In more severe forms of hypospadias, the opening is located further down on the penile shaft or in the scrotum.

Hypospadias is associated with chordee, where the penis curves in a downward direction. Usually, hypospadias is also associated with an incomplete foreskin, which is usually recognized when a newborn is examined. However, in some cases, hypospadias can occur with a full foreskin and is only recognized at the time circumcision is being performed or after the circumcision has been completed.

How Is Hypospadias Diagnosed and Treated?


Surgery for hypospadias is done for functional reasons, as well as cosmetic and potential psychological concerns. Not all cases of hypospadias require correction. The two major functional reasons to perform surgery are to correct an abnormal deflection of the urinary stream and potential sexual dysfunction later in life. Cosmetic concerns are closely linked to potential psychological repercussions and the child's perception of his genitalia later in life. Surgery is usually performed at 6 to 12 months of age.

Type of Surgery

In most routine cases of hypospadias, where the opening is located near or within the glans, the opening defect and associated chordee can be corrected in a one-stage outpatient operation. In these cases, more than 90% of the surgeries are successful. However, in more severe cases, two or more surgeries may be needed. In these severe cases, overall success rates are lower.

The goals of hypospadias surgery are:

  • To move the opening of the urethra to the tip of the penis
  • To correct the penile curvature
  • To correct cosmetic abnormalities

In some cases, your surgeon may elect to pretreat your child with male hormone treatments (topical cream or shots) that temporarily enlarge the penis and enhance its blood supply. These temporary changes enhance the ability to achieve a successful surgical result. The use of this preoperative hormone treatment is reversible and has been shown to be safe.

Make an Appointment

If you’d like to request an appointment with one of our specialists from the Division of Urology, call 1.800.543.7362 (1.800.KIDS DOC®).

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