In males, epispadias is a malformation of the genitalia in which the urethra ends or opens on the upper surface of the penis. This birth defect is most commonly observed as a part of the exstrophy-epispadias complex, which is a spectrum of failures of midline fusion affecting the pelvis, abdominal wall, and bladder. Characteristics of epispadias include a very short and wide penis, often classified as complete epispadias when the entire urethra is exposed from the abdominal wall to the tip of the penis. There is usually upward bending or chordee associated with epispadias.
Epispadias can also occur in females, where it is manifested as a split clitoris and displacement of the urinary opening.
Epispadias is always a part of the exstrophy-epispadias complex, but can also occur as an isolated birth difference in a child with an otherwise normal bladder, pelvis, and abdominal wall.