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At UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, we believe parents and guardians can contribute to the success of this test and we invite you to participate. Please read the following information to learn about the surgery and how you can help.
The penis plays two important roles in males by being a pathway both for urine and semen (sperm) to leave the body. Both fluids go out through a tube called the urethra (yoo-REETH-ra), which opens at the end of the penis. Sometimes, while the baby is still in his mother’s body, this opening fails to develop completely to the end of the penis and may instead be located anywhere along the underside of the penis. This condition is called hypospadias (hi-poe-SPADE-ee-us), and it is congenital (con-GEN-it-ool), meaning that your child was born with it. Many times children with hypospadias may also have an abnormal bend of the penis shaft, and a partially developed foreskin, the fold of skin at the end of the penis. The hypospadias repair surgery will reposition the opening and give the penis a more normal appearance.
When hypospadias is corrected early, most boys have no memory of having it at all; yet even older boys usually have no problems with the surgery. Once they’ve healed, most boys have little noticeable scarring from the surgery. A successful hypospadias repair as a child should last a lifetime, including during periods of rapid penis growth during puberty.
General anesthesia (an-es-THEEZ-ya) makes your child’s whole body go to sleep and is needed for hypospadias repair so that his reflexes will be completely relaxed. General anesthesia makes the surgery easier and safer to do because your child will not feel any pain or have any memory of it.
Caudal anesthesia is given with general anesthesia to block pain in the low back, belly and lower trunk area. It allows the anesthesia doctor to give a smaller amount of general anesthesia during the surgery, and also provides up to 4 hours of pain relief in that area after the surgery.
When general anesthesia is needed, there are important rules for eating and drinking that must be followed in the hours before the surgery. One business day before your child’s surgery, you will receive a phone call from a surgical nurse between the hours of 1 and 9 p.m. (Nurses do not make these calls on weekends or holidays.) Please have paper and a pen ready to write down these important instructions.
For children older than 12 months:
For infants under 12 months:
For all children:
The most important role of a parent or guardian is to help your child stay calm and relaxed before the surgery. The best way to keep your child calm is for you to stay calm.
Once your child has been registered for the surgery, a nurse, nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant and a member of the anesthesia staff will meet with you to take your child’s vital signs, weight and medical history. As the parent or legal guardian, you will be asked to sign a consent form before the anesthesia is given.
In addition to the abnormal opening in the urethra, boys who are born with hypospadias may have an underdeveloped foreskin (the skin on the end of the penis), and the penis may appear to be curved.
The surgery to repair it usually involves these steps:
Some complicated cases of hypospadias may require more extensive surgical repair.
While your child is asleep, his heart rate, blood pressure, temperature and blood oxygen level will be checked continuously.
When your child is moved to the recovery room, you will be called so that you can be there as he wakes up.
After your child is discharged and goes home, he may still be groggy and should take it easy for the day.
If your child has any special needs or health issues you feel the doctor needs to know about, please call your doctor’s office before the surgery and ask to speak with a nurse. It is important to notify us in advance about any special needs your child might have.
Children's Hospital's main campus is located in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Our main hospital address is:
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
One Children’s Hospital Way
4401 Penn Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In addition to the main hospital, Children's has many convenient locations in other neighborhoods throughout the greater Pittsburgh region.
With myCHP, you can request appointments, review test results, and more.
For questions about a hospital bill call:
To pay your bill online, please visit UPMC's online bill payment system.
Interested in giving to Children's Hospital? Support the hospital by making a donation online, joining our Heroes in Healing monthly donor program, or visiting our site to learn about the other ways you can give back.