Dr Rafael Gosálvez. / SALVADOR SALAS

Boy born without a penis completes first phase of genital reconstruction

The operation was handled by Miami Children's Hospital's head of paediatric urology, Rafael Gosálbez, at Clínica Santa Elena, in Torremolinos

ÁNGEL ESCALERA MÁLAGA.

A two-year-old boy from Valencia, born with testicles but not a penis, underwent a complex, urological surgery last Wednesday in an attempt to reconstruct his genitals. This will allow him to urinate with normality.

The operation was handled by Miami Children's Hospital's head of paediatric urology, Rafael Gosálbez, at Clínica Santa Elena, in Torremolinos.

The young boy suffers from congenital aphallia, which is an extremely rare anomaly with alterations of the genital tubercle and is also linked to genitourinary and systemic deformities.

This malformation exists in one in every 30 million newborns, and only 100 cases have been officially recorded.

Doctor Gosálbez explained to SUR about the operation. "It consists of creating a phallic structure that will allow the young boy to urinate from the base of this structure," he said. This operation was the first phase of the penis reconstruction, which will be followed by another intervention next year.

The doctor also added that children suffering from aphallia have their urethra opened to the rectum and it has to be extended to the phallic structure, which will be built on the operating table. This allows, from a cosmetic point of view, for children to have a more normal appearance.

The operation was completed at the 18th International Practical Course for Urethra and Genital Hypospadias, which doctor Gosálbez is directing.

Not a genetic problem

Congenital aphallia is rare, but does happen in all continents, said the doctor. He insisted it isn't linked to any genetic defects, nor is it related to any hormonal problems.

The operation serves a triple purpose: to prevent infections, to allow for normal urinating and to spare the youngster the psychological trauma of growing up without a penis.