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Hypospadias Repair: Before Your Child's Surgery

What is hypospadias?

Hypospadias is a problem with the opening of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body.

In boys, the opening of the urethra is usually at the end of the penis. But sometimes the urethra does not reach the end of the penis. In this case, the opening is on the underside of the penis.

Surgery can make a new opening at the end of the penis. The way the doctor does this depends on how serious the problem is. In some cases, the doctor can take tissue from inside the mouth to make the urethra longer. In other cases, the doctor needs to do more than one surgery to fix the problem. Your doctor will talk to you more about this.

After surgery, your child may have a short, plastic tube in his urethra. The tube is called a stent. It keeps the urethra open. Or your child may have another kind of tube called a catheter. It drains urine from the bladder. These will be removed in about 10 to 14 days.

Your child may be able to go home the same day. Or he may need to stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 days.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How do you prepare for surgery?

Surgery can be stressful for both your child and you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's surgery.

Preparing for surgery

  • Talk to your child about the surgery. Tell your child that the surgery will fix a problem with the penis. Hospitals know how to take care of children. The staff will do all they can to make it easier for your child.
  • Ask if a special tour of the surgery area and hospital is available. This may make your child feel less nervous about what happens.
  • Plan for your child's recovery time. He or she may need more of your time right after the surgery, both for care and for comfort.
  • Understand exactly what surgery is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell the doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products your child takes. Some may increase the risk of problems during the surgery. Your doctor will tell you if your child should stop taking any of them before the surgery and how soon to do it.

The day before surgery

  • A nurse may call you (or you may need to call the hospital). This is to confirm the time and date of your child's surgery and answer any questions.
  • Remember to follow your doctor's instructions about your child taking or stopping medicines before surgery. This includes over-the-counter medicines.

Surgery can be stressful both for your child and for you. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your child's surgery.

What happens on the day of surgery?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when your child should stop eating and drinking. If you don't, the procedure may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to have your child take his or her medicines on the day of the procedure, have your child take them with only a sip of water.
  • Follow the doctor's instructions about when your child should bathe or shower before the surgery. Do not apply lotion or deodorant.
  • Be sure your child has something that reminds him or her of home. A special stuffed animal, toy, or blanket may be comforting. For an older child, it might be a book or music.

At the hospital or surgery centre

  • A parent or legal guardian must accompany your child.
  • Your child will be kept comfortable and safe by the anesthesia provider. Your child will be asleep during the surgery.
  • The surgery will take 1 to 3 hours.
  • After surgery, your child will be taken to the recovery room. As your child wakes up, the recovery staff will monitor his or her condition. The doctor will talk to you about the surgery.
  • Your child may be able to go home the same day. Or your child may need to stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 days.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare your child for the surgery.
  • Your child becomes ill before the surgery (such as fever, influenza (flu), or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about your child having the surgery.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.