Urethral strictures and stenosis are urinary conditions that may develop after someone experiences a pelvic fracture, damage or another type of trauma to their urethra. Sometimes a disease or infection of the urethra can cause these conditions to develop as well. When a urologist treats a patient dealing with these issues, they will usually recommend getting a urethral reconstruction procedure.
The medical term for urethral reconstruction is urethroplasty. It is a specific type of surgical procedure designed to repair urethra damage. The doctor performs several advanced surgical techniques to increase the width of the urethra in areas that have been blocked or obstructed from the damage.
Without the urethral reconstruction surgery, a patient is liable to face urination difficulties, urinary tract infections, incontinence or other uncomfortable side effects. Therefore, it is best to have a urologic examination immediately before the negative symptoms become more severe. The urologist uses the examination results to determine the severity of the urethra damage and the best approach to repairing it.
Two types of urethral reconstruction procedures exist presently. The most popular method is the anastomotic technique, and the other one is the tissue transfer technique. The urologist can recommend the best treatment based on the current condition of the patient. A great deal of visualization and diagnostic testing procedures are utilized to make this determination. A patient can almost always expect a urethrogram to be performed before any surgical plans get made.
If the urologist decides to use the anastomotic procedure, the doctor will perform open surgery to remove the damaged part of the urethra. After that, the doctor repairs and rejoins the remaining portions of the urethra and put it back into a normal functioning state. Thus, an anastomotic procedure is only necessary to remove damaged areas of the urethra.
In cases where portions of the urethra have narrowed, the tissue transfer technique utilizes a tissue graft to increase the size of the urethra. The doctor uses the patient’s own tissues for the graft. The tissues may get taken from the inner lining of the patient’s mouth or their penile foreskin.
The purpose of using the patient’s tissues for the graft is to reduce the chance of graft rejection. The buccal mucosa is the usual place used for the graft. Not only does it reduce the cosmetic issues from the surgery, but it also has a higher success rate when its tissues are used.
Lessons to Remember
Urethral reconstruction is a necessary procedure for people who have moderate to severe urethral damage. Medication can be used if the patient has minor urethra damage, but the urologist is the specialist who ultimately makes that decision. Most patients that undergo surgery will spend no more than two days in the hospital to recover from the initial incisions.
However, patients will still have to wear a catheter for at least 2 to 3 weeks following the urethral reconstruction surgery. That allows the urethra time to heal and restore its functionality. Meanwhile, the urologist continues to check the progress of the recovery to ensure the healing process is going smoothly. Patients are advised to follow their doctor’s advice throughout the process too.
An added benefit of urethral reconstruction is restored sexual functionality. A damaged urethra may cause men to have sexual dysfunctions, but they can be reversed if the urethra is repaired. In fact, men can have their fertility restored too.
Urethral reconstruction is a powerful and effective procedure that can restore a man’s life in more than one way. But it must be performed by a qualified and experienced urologist to ensure that the surgery is a success.