About hypospadias

UW Health Kids Urology experts understand the stress and awkward situations that can arise when your child needs urologic care. It's a sensitive issue and together we take excellent care of your child every step of the way.

Hypospadias affects one in 250-300 full-term male newborns in the United States. It is a common birth defect. It occurs when the opening through which your son urinates is not at the tip of the penis but may be located elsewhere along the shaft of the penis, or very occasionally in the scrotum.

Signs of hypospadias

Most hypospadias cases are recognized quickly and easily at birth and treated with surgery during the boy’s first 6-18 months of life. Other indicators may be a downward curve of the penis, incomplete foreskin resulting in a hooded appearance, or abnormal spraying during urination.

Our expertise

Dr. Farhat and his team are experts at hypospadias repair. He has treated more than 1,000 cases surgically, as well as focused his research on the subject for years. Dr. Farhat has been published in many national and international journals and presented at meetings and conferences on this topic. There are many reasons for recommending correction, no matter how mild the condition, especially when parents would like to have their child circumcised.

Our commitment

Our pediatric urologists at UW Health and American Family Children's Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin are committed to being there through your child's entire treatment process; before, during and after surgery.


Answers to common questions

Hypospadias may be a new term for many parents. It is a congenital condition that affects baby boys. This condition generally requires surgery to correct and you may have questions. That’s what we are here for. While you can’t self-refer, please ask your primary care provider for a referral to our specialists.

Hypospadias is a birth defect that affects the location of the urethra on the penis. There are several common signs of hypospadias that you may notice. The location of the opening through which your son urinates is not located at the end of the penis but may form anywhere on the underside between the tip and the scrotum. There may be a visible downward curve, bend, or forward tilt of the head of the penis. Also, the foreskin may be incompletely formed resulting in an improper flow of urine. Hypospadias is usually diagnosed during a physical examination after the baby is born. Your primary care provider will refer you to a pediatric urologist for treatment and next steps.

Hypospadias affects one in 250-300 full-term male newborns in the United States. It is a common birth defect. Forms of hypospadias vary from mild to severe. Pediatric urologists at UW Health and American Family Children’s Hospital in Madison, Wisconsin are experienced in treating all forms of hypospadias.

The specific causes of hypospadias are unknown in most newborns. Hypospadias is thought to be caused by a combination of genes and other environmental factors during pregnancy. This may include things the mother comes in contact with, what the mother eats or drinks, or certain medications she uses while pregnant.

The severity of your son’s hypospadias will determine treatment. There are many reasons to suggest correction even on mild cases as the benefits outweigh the risks. Someone with uncorrected moderate or severe hypospadias must generally sit to urinate which can cause uncomfortable questions for children and men alike.

Though there is no evidence that boys with uncorrected hypospadias have health issues, it is thought that the severity of hypospadias could affect self-esteem. When the boy is an adult, severe hypospadias could interfere with getting an effective erection and may result in difficulties with sexual intercourse.

Our surgeons at AFCH will provide a sharing decision approach to any infant with hypospadias and provide the pros, cons and possible long-term outcome for surgical intervention. The goal is to achieve optimal urination and sexual function for your son as he grows.

Yes, a hypospadias repair is completed while your child is asleep under general anesthesia.

Most children will only need one procedure to fix their hypospadias.

Every case is different, but most boys will be seen twice in the first three months after surgery. After that, children are evaluated at various times depending on how well they are healing. Typically, we monitor boys as they age, even into puberty.

Research and education

Advanced training

Hypospadias repair is an intricate and complex pediatric urological procedure. To prepare our providers to surgically treat your child, we require training in our simulation lab. Our team trains using 3D printed advanced simulation models that are created to closely match our patient’s varying degrees of Hypospadias. The hypospadias model we use was developed in collaboration with the team at Madison’s own Morgridge Institute for Research.

The trainees learn the most up to date techniques and use the same equipment during training that is found in our operating rooms. This includes familiarizing themselves with surgical loupes that magnify surgical field to increase accuracy and precision during your child’s surgery.

We believe specialized training, a state-of-the-art simulation lab, and the continuing education around Hypospadias repair sets our team apart and makes us the most qualified and experienced to treat your son.

Meet our team

Caring experts for your child

Patient stories

Real stories of expert care

Walid Farhat, MD performing surgery
Same-day surgery can treat hypospadias
Kami, a south-central Wisconsin mother whose 16-month-old son was born with hypospadias, was referred to UW Health pediatric urologist Walid Farhat, MD, by her local pediatrician.


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