Salvaging the dehisced glans penis

J Pediatr Urol. 2018 Oct;14(5):422.e1-422.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.jpurol.2018.04.028. Epub 2018 May 30.


Objective: The glans penis may show a deep groove (surgically favorable), or may appear flat with an absent sulcus (unfavorable). Glans dehiscence following hypospadias repair, especially after multiple surgeries, frequently results in a scarred, obliterated, or absent urethral plate. The glans penis appears to be flat and grooveless. This study reported on the outcome of a two-stage salvage repair for glans dehiscence in 49 consecutive patients.

Materials and methods: Retrospective chart review was performed for all patients who underwent repair for glans dehiscence following hypospadias repair.

Results: Between January 2009 and April 2015, 49 children aged 16 months to 18 years presented with glans dehiscence following hypospadias repair. The prior number of operations ranged from one to six. Eleven children had urethral fistulas, and seven had chordee. In the first stage, the flat glans was incised deeply to visualize, but spare, the corpora. Thereafter, a free graft of oral mucosa harvested either from the lower lip or cheek, or the residual preputial skin, was sutured to the glans cleft. The grafts were fenestrated, quilted in the midline, and a tie-over dressing was applied. Any fistula or chordee was repaired during the first stage. The neo-plate was tubularized 6-12 months later, and urine drainage with a catheter was maintained for 10-14 days. In 11 patients, skin flaps appeared dusky, and nitroglycerine ointment 2% was applied for 24 h to enhance the blood supply of the tissues. Subsequently, six of these children received nine or ten 90-min hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions. Following the first stage, two patients developed hypertrophy of the mucosal grafts, and one skin graft contracted. These three patients underwent revision using a second buccal mucosal graft harvested from the cheek. One recurrent fistula was closed during the second stage. Following the second stage two patients developed a urethral fistula, and the distal sutures broke down in one patient, resulting in an over-sized meatus. None developed meatal stenosis or glans dehiscence.

Conclusion: Graft initial take and subsequent behavior were unpredictable, but the two stage approach optimized the process of take and healing. Glans dehiscence was repaired safely and successfully by developing a deep groove, with creation of a new urethral plate followed by tubularization in two stages.

Keywords: Buccal graft; Glans dehiscence; Hypospadias.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Hypospadias / surgery*
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Organ Sparing Treatments / methods*
  • Penis / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures, Male / methods