I have debated posting this on my blog since Joel was born. Ultimately I decided I use this blog to document our family happenings and this is definetly a big happening in our family so I will post it. Hypospadias, baby Joel was born with this birth defect. I think the easiest way to explain what it is will be to copy the paragraph off the info sheet his pediatric urologist gave me.
HYPOSPADIAS: A Correctable Defect
One out of every one hundred and twenty five males are born with a condition known as Hypospadias. The cause for this developmental anomaly is unknown. A boy with Hypospadias has a urethra that does not reach the tip of the penis; that is, the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis. It is recommended that Hypospadias be corrected surgically.
I have some animated pics that came on the info sheet I could post but decided against it. If you really want to see what it looks like google it and webmd has some pics. I will warn you though, the pics on webmd are of full grown men with hypospadias. A little more than I personally wanted to see but if that doesn't bother you go for it.
Hypospadias does not hurt Joel. He urinates and has bowel movements just fine. His case is pretty typical it's nothing severe so one surgery should take care of it. So why are we having the surgery done if it doesn't hurt him and he urinates just fine? Because Hypospadias can cause problems as he gets older.
1. His urine stream is irregular, meaning he shoots straight down rather than out of the tip of the penis. He would have to pee sitting down his whole life.
2. His penis would look different than other boys.
3. It could potentially create fertility issues. If he gets the surgery then the opening of the penis would be as close to the cervix as possible so that the sperm is in the right place to cause preganacy.
4. Sexual function. If the penis has chordee (downward curvature of the penis, often found with hypospadias) it becomes very painful, difficult or even impossible to have intercourse as an adult.
I would like Joel to have as much normal function as possible down there so surgery is a no brainer for me.
So now that we are all updated on Hypospadias I'll get to the point of this post. Joel had his first appointment at Primary Childrens Medical Center today. His Pediatric Urologist is a very nice guy! He is super tender and kind. He has great bedside manner which I am sure you need if you are doing surgery on kids all day with crazy, worrying moms all over the place ha ha. He pretty much handles all hypospadias cases in northern Utah. He examined Joel and told us pretty much how the surgery would go.
The surgery is an in and out procedure, so we will go in in the morning and go home that day. They will put Joel under with a mask. Once he is asleep they will start an IV and put in a breathing tube. The surgeon will then construct an addition to the existing urethra and extend the urethra to the tip of the penis. Then he will close the existing hole/urethra at the bottom of the penis and reconstruct the shape so it looks normal and circumcise him. He will use most of the foreskin for the reconstruction.
They will wait till Joel is 4 months old, because they like to wait to do anesthesia on a baby till at least that age, then we will set up the surgery date. We want to have the surgery and recovery done before we move for Optometry school so Joel will have his surgery sooner rather than later. He said the recovery isn't to bad. It will burn to pee for the first week or so then he should act normal and be fine after that. His penis will be black and blue for a while till it heals and the swelling goes down. After all that goes away he should look like any other boy and his function should all be normal! He said the most common complication is if the baby decides it hurts to much to pee and will hold it in as long as possible, then when he finally urinates it will be to much pressure and can burst the stitches. If that happens we would have to wait another 4-6 months and have the surgery done again. So lets pray that doesn't happen!
Joel will have to see the Urologist periodically through his life to make sure no problems occur with growth and development. In almost all cases like Joel's this one surgery should do the trick and everything should be just fine. I feel bad the little guy has to have surgery but after sitting in the waiting room watching kids go by with obviously way worse issues than Joel's we are so grateful it's something fixable and common enough that the doctor feels very comfortable taking care of it! This little guy is growing like a weed and I am sure he will pull through like a champ!