A prospective randomized comparative study on the use of ventral subcutaneous flap to prevent fistulas in the Snodgrass repair for distal hypospadias

World J Urol. 2007 Dec;25(6):641-5. doi: 10.1007/s00345-007-0215-2. Epub 2007 Oct 3.


We evaluated the importance of urethral coverage using vascularized subcutaneous ventral flaps for the prevention of fistulas in patients undergoing distal hypospadias repair. Our prospective study included 130 patients, aged 9 months to 12 years, who underwent distal hypospadias repair using tubularized incised plate urethroplasty (TIPU), from January 2001 through January 2006. Patients were assigned to one of two groups by a computer-generated random selection: 65 patients underwent non-covered urethroplasty (NCU group); another group of 65 patients underwent covered urethroplasty (CU group) with a vascularized subcutaneous ventral flap. The results were evaluated by two pediatric surgeons unaware of the type of treatment each patient had undergone. Successful results were achieved in 99/130 patients (76.2%). We recorded 31 (23.8%) post-operative complications: 20 patients presented with a urethrocutaneous fistula (15 patients in the NCU group and 5 in the CU group); five with urethral stenosis (3 in the NCU and 2 in the CU group); and six with skin dehiscence of the preputioplasty (3 patients in each group). We analyzed the results using the chi2 test and the only statistically significant difference between the two groups (p < 0.05) was in terms of incidence of fistulas. Urethrocutaneous fistulas seem to be the most frequent complication of distal hypospadias after TIPU repair. Urethral coverage should be part of the Snodgrass procedure because it significantly reduces the formation of fistulas. A well-vascularized subcutaneous ventral flap represents, in our experience, a simple and optimal choice for the prevention of fistulas.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cutaneous Fistula / etiology
  • Cutaneous Fistula / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Hypospadias / surgery*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surgical Flaps*
  • Surgical Wound Dehiscence / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Urethral Stricture / etiology
  • Urinary Fistula / etiology
  • Urinary Fistula / prevention & control*
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures, Male / adverse effects
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures, Male / methods*