Chordee is a birth defect of the penis. It causes the penis to be curved downward during an erection.

The Male Reproductive System

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Causes

Chordee occurs when the baby is developing in the womb. 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.

Risk Factors

One risk factor is hypospadias. With this condition, the opening of the urethra is on the bottom of the penis instead of at the tip of the penis.

Symptoms

Symptoms include:

  • Curvature of the penis during erection (does not cause pain)
  • Abnormality of the foreskin
Diagnosis

The condition 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.

Treatment

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:

  • Removing tissue that is constricting the erection
  • Lengthening the urethra
  • Making the longer and shorter sides of the penis equal in length

Surgery is usually done in children aged 3-18 months.

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent this condition.