Parental perspectives on decision-making about hypospadias surgery

K. H. Chan, J. Panoch, A. Carroll, S. Wiehe, S. Downs, M. P. Cain, R. Frankel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Introduction: Many parents who choose hypospadias repair for their son experience decisional conflict and regret. The utilization of a shared decision-making process may address the issue of decisional conflict and regret in hypospadias repair by engaging both parents and physicians in decision-making. Objective: The objective of this study was to develop a theoretical framework of the parental decision-making process about hypospadias surgery to inform the development of a decision aid. Study design: We conducted semistructured interviews were conducted with parents of children with hypospadias to explore their role as proxy decision-makers, inquiring about their emotions/concerns, informational needs, and external/internal influences. Interviews were conducted until no new themes were identified, analyzing them iteratively using open, axial, and selective coding. The iterative approach entails a cyclical process of conducting interviews and analyzing transcripts while the data collection process is ongoing. This allows the researcher to make adjustments to the interview guide as necessary based on preliminary data analysis in order to explore themes that emerge from early interviews with parents. Grounded theory methods were used to develop an explanation of the surgical decision-making process. Results: Sixteen mothers and one father of seven preoperative and nine postoperative patients (n = 16) with distal (8) and proximal (8) meatal locations were interviewed. Four stages of the surgical decision-making process were identified: (1) processing the diagnosis, (2) synthesizing information, (3) processing emotions and concerns, and (4) finalizing the decision (Extended Summary Figure). Core concepts in each stage of the decision-making process were identified. Primary concerns included anxiety/fear about the child not waking up from anesthesia and their inability to be present in the operating room. Parents incorporated information from the Internet, medical providers, and their social network as they sought to relieve confusion and anxiety while building trust/confidence in their child's surgeon. Discussion: The findings of this study contribute to our understanding of decision-making about hypospadias surgery as a complex and multifaceted process. The overall small sample size is typical and expected for qualitative research studies. The primary limitation of the study, however, is the underrepresentation of fathers, minorities, and same-sex couples. Conclusions: This study provides an initial framework of the parental decision-making process for hypospadias surgery that will inform the development of a decision aid. Future stages of decision aid development will focus on recruitment of fathers, minorities, and same-sex couples in order to enrich the perspectives of our work.[Formula presented]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449.e1-449.e8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Urology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2019


  • Decision-making
  • Hypospadias
  • Pediatrics
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Urology

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