Is the double cross flap technique the panacea for avoiding fistula formation in hypospadias surgery?
Objective The aim of this study was to analyze retrospectively the 9-year experience of a single institution in the use of the double cross flap technique to interpose a double dartos flap to protect the neourethra with the aim of preventing fistula formation.
Patients and methods Between October 2005 and September 2014 a total of 127 children with distal and midshaft primary hypospadias underwent tubularized incised plate urethroplasty by means of a double dartos flap obtained with a double cross flap to protect the neourethra. A Foley catheter was left in situ for 7 days. Success was defined as no incidence of complications requiring reintervention, along with good cosmetic result. A questionnaire was administered to estimate parental satisfaction. Parents were asked to evaluate the cosmetic appearance of the penis as good, acceptable, bad, or indifferent.
Results The patient age at the time of surgery ranged from 12 months to 10 years (median 39 months). Three patients exhibited fistula at follow-up (2.3%). In two patients a glandular dehiscence of the urethroplasty occurred (1.5%). Mild stenosis of the neomeatus occurred in three patients (2.3%). No penile iatrogenic rotation occurred. A ‘good’ cosmetic result was reported by 68.5% of parents, acceptable by 22.8%, bad by 3.9% and indifferent by 4.7% of parents as per the parental questionnaire.
Conclusion The double cross flap technique is not the panacea to prevent fistula formation in hypospadias surgery. Nevertheless, it offers an unquestionable advantage in terms of avoidance of fistula formation. The experience and skills of the surgeon performing urethroplasty remain the mainstay for best results.