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Chordee is a birth defect of the penis. It causes the penis to be curved downward during an erection.

The Male Reproductive System
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Chordee occurs when the baby is developing in the womb. 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.

Risk Factors

One risk factor is 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 include:

  • Curvature of the penis during erection (does not cause pain)
  • Abnormality of the foreskin

This condition may not be detected until later in childhood.


The doctor may diagnose the condition 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.


In mild cases, surgery may not be needed. The doctor will monitor your child’s condition. In other cases, surgery may be done to straighten the penis. The curved appearance will be straightened by:

  • Removing tissue that is constricting the erection
  • Lengthening the urethra
  • Making the longer and shorter sides of the penis equal in length

Surgery is usually done in children aged 3-18 months.


There is no known way to prevent this condition.

Revision Information

  • American Academy of Pediatrics

  • Urology Care Foundation

  • Canadian Urological Association

  • Health Canada

  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), National Guideline Clearinghouse. Congenital penile curvature. AHRQ, National Guideline Clearinghouse website. Available at: . Published March 2009. Accessed January 31, 2013.

  • Hypospadias. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated January 26, 2013. Accessed January 31, 2013.

  • Hypospadias/chordee. Cincinnati Children's Hospital website. Available at: Updated December 2010. Accessed January 31, 2013.

  • Hypospadias and chordee. Comprehensive Medical Center website. Available at: Accessed January 31, 2013.