Genitourinary conditions affect the urinary and genital organs. Urinary organs include the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Mount Sinai pediatric surgeons have vast experience treating numerous abdominal and pelvic conditions in children, as well as problems with the genitals and urinary system. Some of these conditions are obvious at birth (congenital) while others develop later in childhood or adolescence.
About Genitourinary Conditions
The genitourinary conditions we see include:
- Bladder exstrophy is a condition where the bladder is improperly formed; it is flat and exposed outside the abdomen.
- Hydrocele of the testis is an accumulation of fluid around the testicle. Hydroceles are frequently present at birth and, in most cases, will resolve without surgery during the first year of life.
- Ovarian cysts can develop before birth or later in childhood or adolescence. If your child isn’t experiencing any symptoms and the cyst is small, we can usually manage this condition with close follow-up, though we may need to treat a cyst if it is more than five centimeters in diameter or is producing symptoms.
- Ovarian torsion, or twisting of the ovary (torsion), can make it difficult for blood to flow to and from the ovary, which can damage ovarian tissue.
- Phimosis affects uncircumcised and partially circumcised boys. With this condition, the foreskin cannot be retracted over the head (glans) of the penis.
- Undescended testicle (cryptorchidism) occurs when the testicles do not descend into the scrotum as usual. This is one of the most common congenital genitourinary anomalies in boys.
Diagnosis and Treatment
We typically start diagnosis by performing a thorough physical exam and taking a careful medical history of your child. We develop a treatment plan, often working with a urologist, based on your child’s individual diagnosis and overall health.
Sometimes we treat these conditions through surgical excision or reconstruction. For ovarian cysts and torsion, we always attempt to preserve the ovary. In the case of phimosis, the treatment is circumcision. Whenever possible, we aim to use minimally invasive surgery, such as laparoscopic technology, rather than a traditional open procedure, to decrease pain and scarring and speed recovery. Depending on the situation, we may need to perform a series of procedures.