Hypospadias — Displacement of the Pee Hole (Meatus) on the Penis

Hypospadias occurs long before Mom even knows she is pregnant. A baby boy's penis develops as layers of tissue fold over to form a tube with a passageway down the center. It is a pretty complex process. Sometimes the folding and sealing up doesn't happen quite right. The hole where the pee comes out (meatus) isn't at the end of the penis, but somewhere farther down the shaft or even between the testicles.

Most of the time, the pee comes out just fine, even if the hole isn't in the right place. The problem is in the future, when the boy cares about having an erection, it isn't straight. At about one or two years of age, a urologist will perform surgery to fix the hypospadias. The baby's penis looks and works just perfectly, and no one will ever know there was a problem, unless he tells them.

Thanks to Janelle Aby MD, Stanford School Of Medicine, Newborn Nursery, and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital for the use of occasional photographs.