Doctor Gosálbez, third from the right, with his team and the head of the hospital. / SALVADOR SALAS

Two-year-old born only with testicles to have penis reconstructed

This complex operation will be performed by paediatric urologist Rafael Gosálbez at Clínica Santa Elena, in Torremolinos, on Wednesday

ÁNGEL ESCALERA

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

The operation will be 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, in a transitory manner from childhood to post-adolescence, to urinate from the base of this structure," he said. This operation will undertake 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 is being done within the 18th International Practical Course for Urethra and Genital Hypospadias, which doctor Gosálbez is directing at Clínica Santa Elena, in Torremolinos.

Gosálbez, originally from Barcelona, studied in Miami and has come to Málaga every year since 2006 to participate in this course, due to his friendship with the late Carlos Miguélez, a fellow paediatric urologist. In this course, which runs from Monday until Friday, 11 patients will be operated on, none from Málaga.

Not a genetic problem

Congenital aphallia is not something very frequent, but does happen in all continents, said the doctor. He insisted on the fact that only one in every 30 million suffer from it and it is an anomaly produced by the lack of genital tubercle development. It isn't linked to any genetic defects, nor is it related to any hormonal problems.

The operation done on the patients serves a double purpose: to prevent any infections and to allow for normal urinating, as well as spring the youngsters the psychological trauma of growing up without a penis.

However, the procedure does not mean that the patients will have erections that would allow them to have sexual intercourse in the future.