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Chordee

Pronounced: kor-DEE

Definition

Chordee causes downward curvature of the penis, which is most obvious during an erection.

Male Reproductive System

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Causes    TOP

Chordee occurs when the baby is developing in the uterus. 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. The cause is unknown.

Risk Factors    TOP

Chordee is more common in children with hypospadiasor a family history of 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    TOP

Chordee causes the penis to be curved. It does not cause pain.

Diagnosis    TOP

Chordee 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    TOP

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 curving the erection
  • Making the longer and shorter sides of the penis equal in length
  • Lengthening the urethra if the urethra is short—tissue from the foreskin or another site will be used

If needed, surgery is usually done in children aged 6-18 months old, but it may be done at any age.

Prevention    TOP

There are no current guidelines to prevent chordee because the cause is unknown.

RESOURCES:

Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics
https://www.healthychildren.org
Urology Care Foundation
http://www.urologyhealth.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Urological Association
http://www.cua.org

References:

Hypospadias. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113719/Hypospadias. Updated June 28, 2016. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Hypospadias/chordee. Cincinnati Children's website. Available at: https://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/h/hypospadias. Updated April 2016. Accessed September 7, 2017.
Mingin G, Baskin L. Management of chordee in children and young adults. Urol Clin N Am. 2002;29(2):277-284.
Montag S, Palmer L. Abnormalities of penile curvature: chordee and penile torsion. ScientificWorldJournal. 2011;11:1470-1478.
Snodgrass W. Management of penile curvature in children. Curr Opin Urol. 2008;18(4):431-435.
Last reviewed September 2017 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 5/13/2015

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