Back to the future: The Cecil-Culp technique for salvage penile reconstructive procedures

D. A. Weiss, C. J. Long, J. R. Frazier, A. R. Shukla, A. K. Srinivasan, T. F. Kolon, H. DiCarlo, J. P. Gearhart, D. A. Canning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Re-operative penile reconstruction is challenging and requires tension-free skin closure. The repair popularized by Cecil and Culp in the 1940s, using the scrotum to provide a temporary vascularized bed for complex hypospadias repairs, fell out of favor due to temporal trends towards single-stage repairs and concern for utilizing hair-bearing skin on the penile shaft. Objective: It was hypothesized that a modified Cecil-Culp (CC) concept of penile scrotalization, leaving the penis attached to the scrotum for 1 year rather than 6 weeks as originally described, improves outcomes with this reconstruction for ventral skin deficiency or poor vascular support. Methods: Institutional Review Board-approved registries were reviewed to identify patients who underwent a CC repair during 1987–2016 at two institutions. Cecil-Culp technique was utilized in multi-stage hypospadias complication repairs or for insufficient ventral penile shaft skin coverage. Anatomic abnormality, number and type of prior surgeries, and complications before and after CC were recorded. Results: Thirty-nine patients underwent CC: 23 failed hypospadias repairs, three hypospadias after bladder exstrophy, 10 penile curvature following circumcision, and three with skin loss from trauma. Mean age at CC was 61.8 months (hypospadias), and 59.8 months (non-hypospadias). Hypospadias patients underwent a mean of 3.6 surgeries (range 1–9) prior to CC. Four of the 39 patients (10.3%) had perioperative complications after CC, including scrotal abscess, skin infections, and difficulty removing the urethral stent. Eight of 37 (21.6%) patients had longer-term complications related to their hypospadias repair, including fistulae, diverticula, dehiscence, and stricture. Mean time from CC placement to release was 345 and 473 days for hypospadias and non-hypospadias cases, respectively. There was no apparent scrotal skin transferred to the penile shaft at the final take-down. Mean follow-up was 22.3 months. Discussion: Embedding the penis into the scrotum for added vascularity and ventral skin coverage has been used effectively in cases of the most tenacious fistulas and for significant skin loss and trauma. Limitations of this study were its retrospective approach at two institutions over an extended period of time by multiple surgeons, so patient selection and procedure may have varied. Conclusions: Modification of CC repair by delaying 9–12 months before CC take-down enhanced the benefits of a robust vascular bed for wound healing, and helped to avoid transfer of hair-bearing scrotal skin to the penile shaft. The CC technique is an important tool for penile reconstructive surgery of complex hypospadias repairs with inadequate skin, and for traumatic injuries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328.e1-328.e7
JournalJournal of pediatric urology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Hypospadias
  • Reconstruction
  • Skin coverage
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Urology


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