Every now and again, something goes a little wrong during thr prenatal development of the urethra (tube that carried urine and semen) and the penis. This condition is called hypospadias and affects approximately 1 in 200 newborn boys.
First degree hypospadias, in which the urethral opening is at the end of the penis but not exactely in the right place, is considered a minor defect and requires no treatment. Second degree hypospadias, in whuch the opening is along the underside of the shaft of the penis, and third degree hypospadias, in which the opening is near the scrotum, can be corrected with reconstructive surgery.
Because the foreskin may be used for the reconstruction, circumcision, even ritual circumcision, is not performed on a baby with hypospadias. Sometimes, a girl is born with hypospadias, with the urethra opening into the vagina. This too, is usually correctable with surgery.
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