Your son had hypospadias repair to fix a birth defect in which the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body) does not end at the tip of the penis. The type of repair your son had depends on how severe his birth defect was. This may be his first surgery for this problem or it may be a follow-up procedure.
Your son received general anesthesia before surgery to make him unconscious and unable to feel pain.
What to Expect at Home
Your child may feel sleepy when you first come home. He may not feel like eating or drinking at first. He may also feel sick to his stomach or throw up the same day he had surgery.
Your son’s penis will be swollen and bruised. This will get better after a few weeks. But, it will take up to 6 months to heal completely.
Your child may need a urinary catheter for 5 to 14 days after the surgery.
The catheter may be held in place with small stitches. The doctor will remove the stitches when your son does not need the catheter anymore.
The catheter will drain into your child’s diaper or a bag taped to his leg. Some urine may leak around the catheter when he urinates. There may also be a spot or two of blood. This is normal.
If your son has a catheter, he may have bladder spasms. These may hurt, but they are not harmful. If your son does not have a catheter, peeing may be uncomfortable the first day or 2 after surgery.
Your child's doctor may write a prescription for some medicines:
Antibiotics to prevent infection
Medicines to relax the bladder and stop bladder spasms. These may cause your child's mouth to feel dry.
Prescription pain medicine for your son, if needed. You can also give your son acetaminophen (Tylenol) for pain.
Taking Care of Your Child
Your son may eat a normal diet. Make sure he drinks plenty of fluids. Fluids help keep the urine clean.
A dressing will be wrapped around your son’s penis. Usually it will have a clear plastic cover over it.
If your son poops and gets the outside of the dressing dirty, clean it gently with soapy water. Be sure to wipe away from the penis. Do not scrub.
Give your child sponge baths until the dressing is off. When you do start bathing your son, use only warm water. Do not scrub. Gently pat him dry afterwards.
Some oozing from the penis is normal. You may see some spotting on the dressings, diaper, or underpants. If your son is still in diapers, ask your nurse about how to use two diapers instead of one.
Do not use powders or ointments anywhere in the area before asking your child’s doctor if it is okay.
Your child’s doctor will probably ask you to take off the dressing after 2 or 3 days and leave it off. You may do this while your son is in the bath. But, be very careful not to pull on the urine catheter. You will need to change the dressing before this if:
The dressing rolls down and is tight around your son’s penis.
No urine has passed through the catheter for 4 hours.
Poop gets underneath the dressing (not just on top of it).
Infants may do most of their normal activities except for swimming or playing in a sandbox. It is fine to take your baby for walks in the stroller.
Older boys should avoid contact sports, riding bicycles, straddling any toys, or wrestling for 3 weeks. It is a good idea to keep your son home from preschool or daycare the first week after his surgery.
When to Call the Doctor
Call the doctor or nurse if your child has:
Persistent low-grade fever or fever over 101°F in the week after surgery
Increased swelling, pain, drainage, or bleeding from the wound
A lot of urine leakage around the catheter. This means the tube is blocked.
Also call the doctor if:
Your child has thrown up more than 3 times and cannot keep fluid down.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.