Hypospadias and undescended testicles

Hypospadias is a common birth defect where the urethra does not extend to the tip of the penis. Instead, the opening of the urethra is located somewhere along the underside of the penis, running along a soft groove. The scrotum may also be incompletely formed or divided into separate sacs or lobes. In many cases of hypospadias, particularly when the genitals are incompletely formed, the testicles do not descend.

Hypospadias can usually be corrected with reconstructive surgery, which is usually performed when the boy is between 6 months and 2 years of age. A boy who has hypospadias should not be circumcised because the foreskin may be needed during surgery.

Hypospadias may be caused by an intersex disorder, which is a condition that is caused by abnormalities in the chromosomes or endocrine system that can produce female characteristics in a male baby.

Last Updated: May 14, 2009

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