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Referral patterns, clinical features and management of uncorrected hypospadias in a series of adult men

      Summary

      Background

      Hypospadias surgery undertaken in early life often continues to impose challenges as patients age. Little is known about the natural history of uncorrected hypospadias persisting into adulthood.

      Objective

      To describe presenting symptoms and management strategies in men with uncorrected hypospadias referred to our national tertiary transitional clinic for congenital urological conditions.

      Materials and methods

      Patients with uncorrected hypospadias older than 16 years at the time of referral were identified by searching the electronic patient record system for ICD-10 hypospadias codes. Data were extracted over a 10-year period according to a predefined protocol.

      Results

      Among 201 referrals, 65 men with hypospadias (glanular n = 12, coronal n = 26, subcoronal n = 9, corporal n = 4, penoscrotal n = 2 and MIP n = 12) had never previously had reconstructive surgery undertaken. Obstructive symptoms predominated (n = 30) and the risk of symptoms increased with advancing age (Figure). Presenting complaints varied across the age span; cosmetic issues (n = 11) and coital pain (n = 5) were primarily seen in youth as opposed to urinary obstructive symptoms that were increasingly more frequent with age (p = 0.002) (Figure). Management included reconstructive surgery (n = 24), minor procedures (preputioplasty, circumcision, meatoplasty, dilatation/urethrotomy, total n = 28) as well as counselling (n = 12). The management strategies were independent of age and hypospadias type.

      Discussion

      The current cohort delineates the dynamic nature of hypospadias in itself. We speculate that the distinction in the primary complaint leading to referral between the extremes of age may relate to the vanity and insecurity of youth while older patients first come forward when other symptoms arise. Dissatisfaction with genital appearance is uncommon in previous smaller studies on men with uncorrected hypospadias unlike in our study, where 11 patients were assessed mainly for cosmetic concerns. Obstruction is the main symptom encountered in adult hypospadias patients operated in early life, and a similar picture was observed in our cohort of unoperated cases. Urethral dilatation and internal urethrotomy are temporizing procedures but were successful in immediate alleviation of obstructive symptoms in patients not willing to consign themselves to formal surgery. The study is limited by its retrospective design, and our symptomatic cohort may also represent the extreme end of the hypospadias spectrum.

      Conclusion

      Medical issues vary across the age span in men with unrepaired hypospadias. Minor surgical procedures as well as counselling play an equally important role as reconstructive hypospadias surgery in the management of unrepaired hypospadias in adulthood.

      Keywords

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