JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Phalloplasty and urethroplasty in children with penile agenesis: preliminary report.

PURPOSE: Female gender has been assigned to 46,XY newborns affected by aphallia, possibly resulting in subsequent gender dysphoria. Prenatal and postnatal effects of the androgens on the brain and sexual orientation cannot be modified later. Therefore, patients affected by aphallia should be raised as males. Because definitive forearm flap phalloplasty is generally not recommended before puberty, we performed a preliminary penile reconstruction during childhood in 4 patients.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Four patients with aphallia who had no sex reassignment at birth were treated at age 9, 17 and 36 months, and 12 years in a single operation. The urethral channel was dissected through an anterior-sagittal-transanorectal approach, and then phalloplasty and urethroplasty were carried out using an abdominal skin flap and a bladder/buccal mucosa free graft.

RESULTS: Immediate postoperative outcome was excellent in all the patients. One patient had excellent functional and cosmetic results at 5 years, while 2 had a partial dorsal urethral dehiscence resulting in an epispadiac urethra at 2 years, and 1 had necrosis of the distal urethra and was voiding through a scrotal urethrostomy at 9 months postoperatively. Phalloplasty survived and provided an adequate male appearance in all patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Opposite gender should not be assigned in patients affected by penile agenesis, who are better raised according to their karyotype and hormonal production. Definitive phalloplasty in adults may achieve good results. Nevertheless, this procedure is generally performed in postpubertal boys and it is not easily available everywhere. Therefore, we believe that social and psychological concerns justified this type of phalloplasty as a palliative preliminary procedure in 3 of our patients. In those countries where definitive forearm phalloplasty is not available our method may also be justified in older children (as in 1 of our patients) as an attempt at a definitive procedure.

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