by Deanna M. Neff, MPH
Chordee causes downward curvature of the penis, which is most obvious during an erection.
Chordee occurs when the baby is developing in the uterus. It is sometimes due to a shortened urethra or having thick tissue around the urethra. The urethra is the tube that connects the bladder to the outside of the body so that urine can exit. Other times, the problem may be due to the skin on the bottom side of the penis being too short. The cause is unknown.
Chordee is more common in children with hypospadias or a family history of hypospadias. With this condition, the opening of the urethra is on the bottom of the penis instead of at the tip of the penis.
Chordee causes the penis to be curved. It does not cause pain.
Chordee may be diagnosed during a physical exam. A specialist called a urologist may do a procedure to create an artificial erection. This allows the doctor to examine the penis. Chordee may also be found during surgery to fix another problem that affects the penis.
This condition may not be detected until later in childhood.
In mild cases, surgery may not be needed. Your child's condition will be monitored. In other cases, surgery may be done to straighten the penis. The curved appearance will be straightened by:
If needed, surgery is usually done in children aged 6-18 months old, but it may be done at any age.
There are no current guidelines to prevent chordee because the cause is unknown.
Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
Hypospadias. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113719/Hypospadias . Updated June 28, 2016. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Hypospadias/chordee. Cincinnati Children's website. Available at: https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/h/hypospadias. Updated April 2016. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Mingin G, Baskin L. Management of chordee in children and young adults. Urol Clin N Am. 2002;29(2):277-284.
Montag S, Palmer L. Abnormalities of penile curvature: chordee and penile torsion. ScientificWorldJournal. 2011;11:1470-1478.
Snodgrass W. Management of penile curvature in children. Curr Opin Urol. 2008;18(4):431-435.
Last reviewed September 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 5/13/2015
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