Monday, January 14, 2013

Chordee Surgery

Against my better judgement, we went through with it.

I regret it now.

I hope I'm wrong.

I left it mainly up to my husband since he's a man. Also it seemed that the older my little guy got, the more noticeable the curve got. That and the thought of my son having to go through penis surgery as a teenager led me to go ahead with it.

The pediatric urologist had told us that he had an incomplete foreskin and he would use that foreskin in the surgery to fix the chordee. I really didn't want this to happen, but all the doctors I talked to agreed. A couple of them said our son could have the foreskin repaired later on. I guess I'll leave that up to him if he wants to.

As far as I know, his penis was a normal looking penis. Now it's not. That's why I regret it. Maybe it still has some healing to do? Maybe it'll look better in another month or two? I hope so.

We arrived for his surgery at 6:31am - 1 minute late and they had already called my cell phone looking for us to check in. Surgery wasn't until 9am. Picky people! We waited and waited and waited some more. They called us in to talk about insurance and then we waited some more.

Finally we were called into triage. They checked his vitals - height, weight, temp, heart rate, etc. Then back to the waiting room. Very frustrating with a baby who is breastfed and can't eat!! Then the nurse called us back and went over his health history. We were then taken to a new waiting room where we met with the anesthesiologist and then the doctor. After signing the papers, we waited in this secondary waiting room some more. At least they had these bubble tubes that our son liked to watch.

And then it was time. Time to hand my baby over to strangers knowing there was always the possibility something would go wrong and I'd never see him again. Hold him again. I told myself over and over this was a simple procedure. It would be okay. But my heart still pounded when they took off with him.

Back to the first waiting room where the next 75 minutes crept by. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Until the doctor came. "Everything went fine," he told us and I could breathe again.

He said the tissue - not just the skin - was bent so they put some stitches in. He also said there was a hypospadias but it was so close to the regular hole, there was no reason to fix it. He said they'd come get us in a few minutes and to see him in a month. Thankfully we didn't have to go back 2 days later because the doctor didn't need to put in a catheter.

A few minutes later, a nurse came and got us. We followed her back to the recovery room. She stopped at one of those anti-bacterial hand pumps and we "washed" our hands. Seeing my little guy all hooked up to wires broke my heart. He was still sleeping and had a tube in his mouth. It wasn't hooked up to anything. It had been while he was in surgery, but now it was just keeping his mouth open, protecting his airway.

He was hooked up to other things...heart monitor, oximeter, blood pressure cuff. His little blue and white blanket from home covered his body. He looked so hurt, so sad, even when sleeping. Like something had been taken away from him.

While he was sleeping, we got to see his "boo-boo". It was sooo red and swollen. Not too much blood, just a little on his diaper. He had a clear bandage wrapped around his penis. It reminded me of plastic wrap. They said to take it off in 2 days and if we couldn't get it off to bring him in so they could take it off. They stressed that we could cut if off. Seeing how snug it fit on him, there would be NO way I would take scissors to it.

He slept for a while. The nurses finally tried waking him up and he screamed and screamed. This was one time I didn't mind. I wanted to hear him cry, to know that everything was okay, that he wasn't brain damaged.

He nursed for a little while, they gave him some pain meds, and then he threw up and fell back to sleep. We had to wait for him to wake up more and stop throwing up to leave. It took a while. My husband went to get us some lunch. The nurse insisted on me waking him up and I hated that. I know they had to make sure he was okay before sending him home, but I wished we could have just rested. Soon he was awake and screaming.

We checked his diaper area again. Still awful looking. I immediately thought it looked better beforehand. We went home. He seemed to be doing okay. Clingy, but not overly cranky. He even got down to play but when he tried to walk sideways along the coffee table, he screamed. I guess separating his legs like that hurt. He didn't want to try again for a while.

We gave him the pain meds round the clock for a few days. He was also on antibiotics. The clear bandage fell off the next day. There were still blood spots on the diaper, but never a lot of bleeding. His penis looked horrible though. It was very swollen and then black and blue, purple, eventually yellow. It took at least a week for the head of his penis to be less red.

But it doesn't look normal. It's been almost a month and underneath is "bumpy". I noticed after a week or so that he seemed to have a pimple looking thing underneath. Now there are a few. I'm guess it's just a bunching of the skin, but I don't know. It looks odd. This is why I regret it. He might not be curved down anymore, but it points to the side - is that normal? I don't know. And he has this bunching underneath. I don't think anyone would have made fun of him beforehand. He looked like an uncircumcised boy without a LONG foreskin. It was shorter and there's not specific length, so would anyone have really noticed? But now!!! Now it's just weird. His follow up appointment is next week and I hope they say this is normal and will go away in a couple of months. I pray they don't say he'll need cosmetic surgery to fix it. UGH!!!

He also doesn't like me to hold him on my hip. Ya know with one leg on each side. He clamps his legs closed and cries. I don't know if it still hurts him or he just remembers that it hurt him at some point.

I hope that I'll change my mind and say this was the right decision. I hope all heals well and he's never teased and it never gives him problems. It was such a hard decision and I can only pray in the long run it was the right one.

I'll keep y'all updated.

On another note, I just want to say that the hospital was great. Even though we waited in the waiting rooms for a long time, they were nice, child friendly waiting rooms. Toys, ride on cars and bikes, movies, books, computers, plugs for phones, etc. There was a separate waiting room for people to eat food - so they kids who weren't allowed to eat wouldn't have to watch other people eating and be jealous. The nurses were nice. They called afterwards to make sure he was doing okay. So that part was a good experience.


  1. My son recently had chordee surgery also. The hospital was great, the doctor was great and the nurses were great. I have no complaints about any of that.

    I was told it was a simple procedure that would hardly effect the appearance of his penis. It, it fact, looks like he has been butchered. His penis is maybe 1/3rd of the size it was before surgery. It is barely there. It was necessary for them to do a circumcision also and the result only strengthened my belief that circumcision is a barbaric practice. That looks like it is more painful and raw than the chordee correction.

    He has had no complications and seems to be in very little pain, (which also scares me because it makes me worry that he has lost sensation as a result of this surgery.) He has been clingy like he has never been in his whole life. He seems spooked and doesn't want to sleep without us right there - not for naps or at night. It takes hours to get him to sleep. He has slept through the night since 2 months and would have slept through the night since day 1 if I had allowed him to, so this is very unusual.

    I hope we didn't make a terrible mistake.

    1. Thanks for commenting. It sounds like your experience was a lot like ours. I'm sorry for that. I don't have any good news. My son's penis looks butchered. It doesn't look normal or "clean". I definitely regret doing the surgery. I wish I could turn back time. My husband agrees too.
      Our son doesn't seem too traumatized anymore. It's been a little over a year now. He still doesn't like me to wipe him well. During diaper changes if he was some fuzzies or a hair stuck to him and I try to get it off, he has a fit. So I don't know if he remembers that "someone hurt him down there" or if he just doesn't like it. Otherwise, I don't think there are any emotional problems.
      I hope things get better for you and your little guy.

  2. Hi, my son is 2 and at birth they told me we needed to go in at 6 months for a chordee correction. I haven't ever felt like it was necessary and didn't want him circ'd so we haven't went in yet. Do you think that he would have been fine without the surgery? I never feel like it looks weird, I just don't want for him to have issues later in life over a surgery I could have gotten when he was young. It is very difficult to find other women that have been here before, thank you for posting this blog.

    1. Please know I'm not a doctor or in the health field at all, this is only my opinion as a mother. If I could do it over again, I wouldn't do it. My husband feels the same. I had no idea anything was wrong with him until the doctor told me and we were there for another reason. They scared us saying he'd have problems later on and he'd handle the surgery better now. I should have gone with my gut and said no. I don't think it looks good, clean, it's more jagged, bumpy. Maybe that's normal. I don't know. He's my only boy. If I could go back in time, I would have not done the surgery and let him do what he wanted to do with it later on. Maybe he would have been mad at me, maybe it would have been more painful, but it would have been his decision.

      I don't know how severe your son's is. Maybe it's worse than my son's or maybe it's better. But I say go with your gut. It's something you can do later in life, not something you can take back.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. It's good to know somebody is seeing this and that it's helping. There wasn't a lot of information/stories about it when I was looking, so I knew I had to write about it :)

  3. How has everything healed? Does it have a more normal appearance now? My son is scheduled for this surgery in 3 weeks. I'm nervous. Hopefully all is looking more normal now? Please update how the healing process went. Thanks so much!

    1. Everything is healed, but to my husband and me, he doesn't look normal. His penis still curves to the left and he has some extra skin bunched on the underside. We have been trying to potty train him and when he does go, he misses that little cup and pees all over me instead. I just asked my husband if we could go back and change it, would he and he said absolutely. If we could turn back time, we would NOT do the surgery.

      I'm sure there are plenty of people who had a fine experience with this, but ours didn't have a good outcome.

      As far as he's concerned, he doesn't notice. He's only 2 1/2. I don't know how things will be in the locker room. He doesn't have any new or remaining problems other than not being able to pee straight as a toddler :)

      Good luck. And remember it's okay to get another opinion or cancel and do it later. You can always put it off and do it later on, you can't take it back.