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What Can I Expect after Treatment for Hypospadias?

Modern hypospadias surgery results in a penis that works well and looks normal (or nearly normal). Many surgeons leave a small tube ("catheter") in the penis for a few days after surgery to keep urine from touching the fresh repair. The catheter drains into the diaper. Antibiotics are often given while the catheter is in place.

Younger boys seem to have less discomfort after repair. When the surgery is done at 6 to 12 months of age, as most pediatric urologists recommend, the child doesn't even remember it. Older boys handle this surgery well, also, especially with the types of drugs we now have to treat pain. In some cases, medication may be needed to treat bladder spasms.

Complications

The complication rate in boys with distal hypospadias repair is less than 1 in 10. Problems happen more often after a proximal correction.

The most common problem after surgery is a hole ("fistula") forming in another place on the penis. This is from a new path forming from the urethra to the skin. Scars can also form in the channel or the urethral opening. These scars can interfere with passing urine. If your child complains of urine leaking from a second hole or a slow urinary stream after hypospadias repair, he should see his pediatric urologist.

Most complications appear within the first few months after surgery. But fistulas or blocks might not be found for many years. Most problems are easily fixed with surgery after the tissues have healed from the first operation (often at least 6 months).

It's not easy to think about more surgery in these unusual cases. But there are options that offer hope for success. Unhealthy scarred tissues from prior operations can be removed and replaced with fresh tissue from another part of the body (most often from inside the cheek). This can create a working urinary channel and still look normal. If your pediatric urologist hasn't used these techniques, he/she will direct you to a center where they're used.

Check-ups after Surgery

Many pediatric urologists believe that routine office check-ups aren't needed after the first few months because the risk for problems past then is so low. Others think boys should be seen throughout childhood until after puberty. You and your son's health care provider will decide what's best.