Any congenital disorder present at the birth of a baby is a birth defect. These defects present at birth may be developmental, physical, or intellectual. There are two main types of birth defects. A structural defect is a problem with a body part’s shape. A functional defect is a problem with how a body’s part works. A birth defect can be both functional and structural.

Now, treatment of birth defects depends on the specific defect. The treatment of a birth defect may be medication, therapy, assistive technology, surgery, or a combination of any of these. Approximately three percent of newborns in the United States are born with birth defects every year. In 2015, there were 628,000 deaths in babies caused by birth defects.

Boys’ Hypospadias Birth Defect

Of 1,000 boys born in the United States every year, five are born with hypospadias, a common birth defect in boys. A baby with the hypospadias birth defect doesn’t have the opening of the urethra at the tip of the penis as it usually is. Instead, the urethra opening is located anywhere between the end of the penis to the scrotum of the penis.

The opening location of the urethra determines a boy’s type of hypospadias. If the urethral opening is located near the penis’s head, the type of hypospadias is “subcoronal.” If the urethral opening is located somewhere along the penis’s shaft, the type of hypospadias is “midshaft.” If the urethral opening is located where the scrotum and penis meet, the type of hypospadias is “penoscrotal”.

Sometimes, boys with hypospadias have a penis that is curved. Boys with the hypospadias birth defect may spray urine abnormally making it necessary for them to sit to urinate. Hypospadias may also cause boys to have a testicle which has not fully gone down into the scrotum. Problems later in life can occur if a boy’s hypospadias is not treated.

The Type of Hypospadias Determines the Treatment

In the mildest form of hypospadias, glandular, a boy’s urethra’s opening is near the head of the penis, but it isn’t at its tip. If this type of hypospadias doesn’t cause the penis to curve during an erection or cause the boy’s urinary stream to be misdirected, it may not need to be corrected with surgery.

Hypospadias repair is usually done when a boy is six months to two years old. The surgery to correct the hypospadias birth defect can be done as an outpatient. It is rare for a child to need to spend the night in a hospital after this surgery. If you anticipate having to correct this birth defect with surgery, you should not have your little boy circumcised at birth. The surgeon will most likely need his foreskin’s extra tissue for the surgery.

General anesthesia will be administered to your child before the surgery. The general anesthesia will make your child sleep; thus, he won’t feel any pain during the surgery. Only one surgical procedure will be needed to correct mild defects. However, two or more surgical procedures will be needed for defects that are more severe.