21 answers

Hypospadias Repair

Have any of you had a son with a hypospadias and NOT gotten it fixed? We are planning to have the surgery done on our son but I am, of course, a bit nervous about having someone cut on my baby and have been thinking "How necessary is this, really? Is standing up to pee that important, or is it an arbitrary social convention that's not worth subjecting him to pain?" I mean, we decided against circumcision for that reason--we feel we shouldn't put him through a painful surgery that doesn't have a clear health benefit. The ped. urologist we saw also said that Europeans usually don't bother fixing it--it is more an American thing and done largely for the sake of "normal" potty training. And he does about 100 a year and is very good at it, I'm sure he will make it as easy and painless as possible, I'm just having a slight case of cold feet and would like to hear from anyone who's been through this. How did you decide, one way or the other? and if you decided against, how have you helped your son deal with it as he grew?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks, everyone, for your advice & encouragement. To clarify a bit, his is a mild second-degree case (right at the end of the shaft)--not as serious as some, but enough that he would have to sit down to avoid peeing on his leg (the pee comes out at almost a 90-degree angle to his penis) and it might be a fertility issue since things wouldn't be, um, launched in the right direction. So we figured it would end up being pretty frustrating for him. And it's true, I had enough embarrassment in my teens because some of my TOES are kinda funny looking--I can only imagine the boys'-bathroom ordeals. Stupid boys. The surgery is still a go, I've just been having a bit of "have-we-considered-all-the-options" anxiety. Glad to hear all your little guys recovered so quickly.

More Answers

My opinion is do it. My son had surgery when he was 4 months old and it was tougher on me than him. It was major surgery on his neck and the surgery itself was much more dangerous than what you are describing. My advice to you would be to think about his future in the locker room and later on as well. It will be much less of an pain issue now than when he grows up. My little guy was a little groggy the day of the surgery but we brought him home the next day and you would never have known he had had surgery. They kept him on Morphine the day of and he wasn't feeling any pain. They will take good care of him. My husband is an Anesthesiologist and they take care of all their patients, but the little ones get even more attention and care. Do it for your little man's future embarrassments. It won't be a big deal. They will keep the pain well under control for him. Good luck with what ever you decide. M., one more thing. I would also consider getting his circumcision done at the same time while he is under. Social and sexual issues there too. One of my cousins husband was not circumcised and it really "grossed her out". Kids suffer so much from other kids being mean, do what you can to protect him if its something like this.

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M.,

My son had a hypospadias and I did get it repaired. I felt it was important for his future. It really didn't seem painful at all. I had to put a cream on it afterward for about 3 days at that was it. I didn't even see blood. I was very surprised at how quick and easy it was.

Good luck with your decision.

K.

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No, my sons did not have this condition, but as a healthcare provider (RN) I suggest you go ahead with the surgery. Peer pressure in the locker room, public bathroom can be harsh. Face it, kids can be cruel to those who are "different" or "weird". Europeans are freer with their ideas of "normal" than Americans. Also, I have had to deal with the results of hypospadias with older men who are hospitalized and needing catheterized. It's not easy and often painful, especially if there has been damage to the external genitalia-I work in trauma critical care. Good luck and relax, I know it's hard.

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I admit upfront that I have zero experience with this. I do, however, have a 6 year old son. It may not seem necessary to you, but for a growing child who is CONSTANTLY compared to peers, it'll probably be important to him. Anything that makes them different is a potential target for teasing or rejection. My son is in first grade, their are urinals in the boys bathroom and most boys use them during the restroom trips. So yes, they are all in there pee'ing at the same time. I can't imagine it changing as they move into Jr High and High School and are in the locker rooms. I also caught him and a friend having a peeing contest in the snow last winter. No, I don't understand it. Yes, I told him it wasn't appropriate. Yes, he'll probably be doing it again. Boys will be boys and all that. Who knows what is going around in their brain.

Is it something that has to be done NOW? Could you wait a few years and ask him how he feels about it once he's school age? Or will it be more painful or a harder recovery if it's done when he's older? If so, I'd go ahead and do it now while he's too young to remember.

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When you are making your decision just keep in mind that as kids grow every little difference puts a target on their back with some of the kids at school. While it might not seem like a big deal or really make any sense to us, I remember my brothers talking about "peeing contests" in school where they would stand back and see who could "shoot" the furthest (glad I'm not a school custodian). That was just the kind of stuff that happened in the boys bathroom/locker room at school. I would definitely talk to some men in your life to get their take on your decision. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Our son had surgery for this at 10 months and was groggy for one day then started walking the next day! He is almost 2 and you would never know he'd ever had a problem. His was along the shaft so we really felt it was neccesarily for him to have the best quality of life to have it fixed. Don't wait until they are older, around age 2 is when they start to retain memories and you don't want him to have memory of that. Our opinion was, why not fix something so easy and possibly save him future heartbreak. Good luck!

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Hi M....I have a 5 yr old son who had his hypospadias repaired when he was just over a year old. (We also have two daughters, ages 7 and 9. We were so happy to finally have our boy and then to find out he was born with a defect on, of all places, his little man part!) Anyway, after researching pros and cons of having it repaired we decided to definitely have it done. We were not too worried about his potty training. We were more concerned about any problems he could have sexually. Embarrassment caused by peers was another concern. Mostly we just wanted him to be as "normal" as possible...and to one day have grandchildren. ;)

WE were more affected by the whole prodecure (emotionally) than he was! (He doesn't remember any of it.) He had a few complications (his stent came out on it's own before it was supposed to) but we had a great doctor that took wonderful care of him. He was on paind meds for just a few days. His recovery was quick. He healed beautifully and looks just as normal as any other little boys that I've seen!

Good luck!
K.

P.S. The pediactic urology team at Children's here in Columbus is EXCELLENT, if that's where you would have him done. =-)

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Dear M.,
If I understand you correctly, you don't want to give your son unnecessary pain by circumcision. He will have to go to urinate by sitting down the rest of his life? If that is the case, he will be ridculed his entire life as a boy, teenager and on. Circumcision should be done on 8 days after birth because that is when vitamin K kicks in(to clot blood). I hesitated to have my son go under it but I am glad I did. He would always think something is "wrong" with him. Think about him as far as the future holds if you did not get it done. L. J

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Definitely go ahead with your surgery. My nephew had this condition and had it repaired as a baby. Unfortunately, his mother could "not bear to see him in pain" and pulled out the stint needed for him to repair correctly. He then had to have surgery again (around age 3), and same thing, his mom sabotaged it. So, finally, he has had the surgery a third time at age 10. All has seemed OK for about a year but now apparently developing a "leak" at the fistula site. He's in middle school now and is embarrassed, as now he gets a wet spot after peeing at school. It's back to the Dr. to explore what happened. It sounds like you have done your research and have a good Dr. to perform this surgery. I'm not so sure my nephew had the benefit of good research.
You'll be so glad you corrected this problem early for your son. Best of luck.
C.

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My son, born 05.06.05 had a very mild hypospadias which the urologist told us was absolutely not necessary to have fixed. He said if we really wanted to, he'd perform the surgery, but he really didn't see the need. I would say, if you trust your physician then go ahead. If not, get a second opinion on the matter. If it will affect his reproductive adulthood then I would think you'd want to get him help now. Every parent needs to search out what is best for their own family though.

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Any procedure like that should be done as soon as possible. The earlier the less pain.

I would have it done for the same reason as others have said, and that is so he doesn't have to face possible humiliation from other kids.
I would also suggest you do it to do all that you can do, to prevent him from having any sexual disfunction when he gets older.

1 mom found this helpful

Just remember that you can't shelter him from pain forever.Do the surgery when he is young, and will never remember. He will be upset w/you when he is older and he is "different" than the other children. I understand your concerns but he will do wonderful. My son had surgery at 1year. Yes I cried when the nurse took him back, and cried when he was upset waking up from surgery. But after a day of sleeping, he was back to normal. The longer you wait, the worse it is.

1 mom found this helpful

You did ask for advice if someone chose NOT to have it done. But then at the bottom you ask how did you decide, one way or the other....
So I will tell you my son had one and had it fixed. First some backround, my oldest son hadn't peed standing since I walked into the bathroom when he was three and he showed me how the "sprinkler" turned around! It was a mess and from then on I made him and his brothers sit. When he was in first grade he came home in a different pair of pants than I sent hime and and when I asked what happened he said he couldn't get his pants over in time and he was tired of being made fun of for sitting. (It's a tricky thing to get your pants undone just enough and the underwear over to pee without completely dropping your pants). He had only gone to the restroom once in Kindergarten and I thought it was because it was such a short day. Turned out the other boys laughed because he couldn't pee without taking his pants down and the boys could see his butt. (Boys bathrooms are really just a free for all as I'm sure your husband can attest to). Okay with that backround info...
When our third son was about 7 months old we made the choice to have his fixed so he would be able to stand and pee. He was fine of course. Would he have issues if he couldn't? I can't answer that BUT I know he won't need to worry about being different in a culture that picks on those that are. Is that a good enough reason to have a surgery done? Again personal choice.

Only you can decide if "normal" is important.

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WE had our son's fixed at 6mths, and he did wonderfully. I recommend having it done because he's young enough to not remember it and he will heal quickly. Just remember how you felt as a teen about being normal and the not fitting in. Do you think that saving him the pain now will be better than later having to explain to people his own age why he has to pee like a girl rather than like other boys? I'm sorry if this seems harsh, I don't mean it to be, but I just think that you should look at all the angles. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

My son had the surgery done right at a year old. SO far as a mom it was one of the hardest things I had to allow done to my son. The hardest part for him was putting him under, we were not able to be there with him, and then waking up after recovery, he was scared, hungry and thirsty. We had the procedure done at Riley and they took really good care of him, and he was able to come home a few hours later. He really never acted like it bothered him, I was completley amazed! diaper changing was harder on me than it was on him, he never even flinched. Taking the stint out was a little painful for him, but it was over in seconds. My son had a severe case and the doctor said that when the time came his erection would be bent which would make sexual activity difficult. We made the decision to have the surgery done at a year because we thought it would be easier on him then, rather than later. Now he is almost 3 and is doing great, no problems, no side affects, he is normal!

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I have not had to do anything like this on my son (who is now 21). I did however have to do a few things to my daughter (who is now 8) for labial adhesions. I am a leader to girl scouts and have been around a lot of kids and I know how cruel they can be. My daughter has had a lot of outpatient procedures done and my son has had some surgeries for a broken arm and it's amazing how well and fast our kids can heal and bounce back. I would have it fixed just to prevent any heartache that your son would have when he starts school. Classes in elem schools take their potty breaks together and kids are certainly know that your son is different and some kids really focus on things like that. As a parent I would hate to be responsible for knowing that it was a fixable problem that I had decided not to fix.

good luck.

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I just looked this up and it is what one of my friends twin boys had, he had the surgery and no further problems.
here is what I found.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypospadias

It could effect weather or not you get grandchildren later in life.It could also bother him as a young man having to sit to pee while all the other boys stand.It's a birth defect that can be easily fixed. I would do it if it were my son.

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My son has not been fixed. We saw a ped. urologist and it was recommended to wait until potty training to be repaired. If potty trainging went fine then no need to repair it. If potty training messy/difficult then repair it. Hope this helps. My son is 3 and just beginning potty training. He's not had any major problems so far.

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hi. my name is S. and i have a 3 year old son with hypospadias and im not concidering sergery at this time. i agree with you on having cold feet with having it done. we are originally from CT and my son was seen by a doctor who said that having the sergery would b purely for cosmetic reasons only and that it was not medically necessary.. he has no trouble with urinating although he still isnt potty trained. im not sure if this is due to the hypospadias or not. ive been doing some research which is how i came across you. i dont know how old your son is but maybe we can share some pointers and just know ypu are not alone with not wanting or having the sergery. please feel free to contact me via email with any thoughts you may have. ____@____.com thanks and i look forward to hearing from you. i just looked and saw this was posted 2 years ago.. did you have the sergery? how is he now?

We let our son go until he was 10 years old, the doctor said as he grew it might allow some adjustment, so we hoped. We didnt want to put him through surgery as an infant, unable to express himself, wearing diapers would have impeded the healing and all...So, as a gradeschooler he couldn't urinal (group) pee, so what? But when he went to use stalls at school, boys would peek under, or kick the doors in on him, others just curiously asking why he went in all the time. You know how kids can be.
As we started discussing & thinking about the pressures he was under our older son flat out told us it was time to get his defect repaired. Puberty was right around the corner, how would it be when he began experiencing erections, life was already difficult for him because we had allowed so much time to pass. So we got him the surgery. He came through it fine, and while I felt so guilty for letting him get older and not having it fixed before, I was also grateful he could express his discomfort and tell us what helped. How much or little pain he was having etc. He came home with a catheter, we used a wheelchair for him,- and had to finish healing under our care, we did it over the Christmas break, so he had some recuperating time. He's turning 18 in two months, and enjoys good overall health. I'm glad that stage of his life is behind him. But I feel for you, in the decision making part, truly. One thing about a little one, he wont recall going through the procedure like mine did, he wont be big and embarrassed about it all, although there are the issues of him being smaller - of course, these are some things to think about. I trusted the doctor, he'd done a million or so before too. I send you a hug, and I hope it helps!

I am the mother of 5 my youngest is 18 so we have been through a lot of "stuff"
I also am a nurse. I feel that the small amount of pain he goes through at this point, that he will never remember, will be harder on you them him. But the feeling different then his friends in the boys locker room will be a lot more to go through as a teen.
Just something to think about
M. C

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