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J Pediatr. 1999 May;134(5):579-83.

Congenital hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and micropenis: effect of testosterone treatment on adult penile size why sex reversal is not indicated.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of California San Francisco, USA.


Micropenis is commonly due to fetal testosterone deficiency. The clinical management of this form of micropenis has been contentious, with disagreement about the capacity of testosterone treatment to induce a functionally adequate adult penis. As a consequence, some clinicians recommend sex reversal of affected male infants. We studied 8 male subjects with micropenis secondary to congenital pituitary gonadotropin deficiency from infancy or childhood to maturity (ages 18 to 27 years). Four patients were treated with testosterone before 2 years of age (group I) and four between age 6 and 13 years (group II). At presentation, the mean penile length in group I was 1.1 cm (-4 SD; range, 0.5 to 1.5 cm) and in group II it was 2.7 cm (-3.4 SD; range, 1.5 to 3.5 cm). All patients received one or more courses of 3 intramuscular injections of testosterone enanthate (25 or 50 mg) at 4-week intervals in infancy or childhood. At the age of puberty the dose was gradually increased to 200 mg monthly and later to an adult replacement regimen. As adults, both group I and II had attained a mean final penile length of 10.3 cm 2.7 cm with a range of 8 to 14 cm (mean adult stretched penile length for Caucasians is 12.4 2.7 cm). Six of 8 men were sexually active, and all reported normal male gender identity and psychosocial behavior. We conclude that 1 or 2 short courses of testosterone therapy in infancy and childhood augment penile size into the normal range for age in boys with micropenis secondary to fetal testosterone deficiency; replacement therapy at the age of puberty results in an adult size penis within 2 SD of the mean. We found no clinical, psychologic, or physiologic indications to support conversion of affected male infants to girls. Further, the results of this study do not support the notion, derived from data in the rat, that testosterone treatment in infancy or childhood impairs penile growth in adolescence and compromises adult penile length.

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