Reparación de hipospadias propicia un mejor mañana para los niños de Arkansas

Shawna had heard the stories about diaper changes and baby boys. She was prepared! The new mom planned to cover her infant Ronnie's privates during diapering to avoid an unpredictable stream of urine. But it was never an issue. "It was pretty obvious that he wasn't peeing from the right spot early on," she said. "We never saw that surprise water spout."

Shawna checked with her pediatrician, who said Ronnie likely had hypospadias, an anomaly of the penis where the meatus - the opening usually found at the tip - is on the underside of the organ instead. "I was scared to death," she recalls. "I didn't know what it meant for his future. I wondered whether he would ever urinate like other boys or even be able to have a relationship."

Shawna immediately started researching from home in Texarkana and connected with Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Chief of Urology Dr. Stephen Canon. He told her that hypospadias is a relatively common condition and that his research indicated that almost 1 percent of male babies are born with it in Arkansas. His team at Arkansas Children’s Hospital has surgically repaired over 300 hypospadias cases over the previous three years.

"We assure families that they don't have to worry about all the 'what ifs'," Canon said. "Surgery can restore normal function in the restroom without pain, create a typical cosmetic appearance and offer a normal outcome otherwise for adulthood."

All of this eased Shawna’s fears. The Urology clinic at Arkansas Children’s Hospital worked closely with her to map out a plan to repair Ronnie’s hypospadias, involving three surgeries over the course of a year. Shawna appreciated that the team was always willing to devote time to Ronnie’s case, and she often called the physicians and nurses with questions.

"It was obvious from the beginning that Arkansas Children's knows how to treat children, and that was so important since Ronnie has special needs, as well," Shawna said. "Dr. Canon helped me understand our son could have a normal life, and I immediately felt relieved."

Today Shawna is proud that Ronnie is potty-trained, years before she initially thought he would be. When he's not watching "Monsters Inc.," he loves swimming and zooming around on his bike. In fact, it's sometimes easy to forget that hypospadias was ever a problem for Ronnie. "As much work as he needed, I'd never have believed at the outset that he'd be doing as well as he is today," Shawna said. "It's purely because of the expertise we found at Arkansas Children's Hospital."