Episapadias

Definition   

Epispadias is a rare congenital (present from birth) defect in the location of the opening of the urethra.

Symptoms

In males:

  • Abnormal opening from the joint between the pubic bones to the area above the tip of the penis
  • Backward flow of urine into the kidney (reflux nephropathy)
  • Short, widened penis with an abnormal curvature
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Widened pubic bone

In females:

  • Abnormal clitoris and labia
  • Abnormal opening where the from the bladder neck to the area above the normal urethral opening
  • Backward flow of urine into the kidney (reflux nephropathy)
  • Widened pubic bone
  • Urinary incontinence Urinary tract infections
     

Causes   

The causes of epispadias are unknown at this time. It is believed to be related to improper development of the pubic bone.

In boys with epispadias, the urethra generally opens on the top or side of the penis rather than the tip. However, it is possible for the urethra to be open the entire length of the penis.

In girls, the opening is usually between the clitoris and the labia, but may be in the belly area.

Epispadias can be associated with bladder exstrophy, an uncommon birth defect in which the bladder is exposed, inside out, and sticks through the abdominal wall. However, epispadias can also occur alone or with defects.

Epispadias occurs in 1 in 117,000 newborn boys and 1 in 484,000 newborn girls. The condition is usually diagnosed at birth or shortly thereafter.

Treatment

Surgical repair of epispadias is recommended in patients with more than a mild case. Leakage of urine (incontinence) is not uncommon and may require a second operation.

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