The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the urinary bladder to expel it from the body. In most cases, the urethra is wide enough to allow the free flow of urine. When the urethra becomes narrow due to scarring, it restricts the urinary flow. This condition is called a urethral stricture. Urethral stricture is a medical condition more commonly found in males than in females.
Studies have shown that the cases of urethral strictures increase with age from about 1 in 10,000 males aged around 25 years to about 1 in 1000 males aged around 65 years.
Urethral strictures cause much discomfort in emptying the bladder. People suffering from urethral strictures are more prone to urinary tract infections and inflammation in the urethra. The symptoms of urethral strictures depend upon the severity of the condition. In mild cases, the person may face some discomfort in passing urine. In severe cases, however, urethral strictures may even lead to complete urinary retention. The presence of blood in semen, dark color of the urine also marks the condition of urethral stricture.
When you find yourself to be struggling with urethral stricture, you should get in touch with a specialist doctor. Although urethral stricture is curable, it has a high chance of recurrence if you do not receive the right treatment. Thus, it requires proper timely treatment. Urethroplasty is the ultimate permanent solution to get rid of urethral stricture. It cures urethral stricture that forms due to the below-mentioned reasons.
Causes of Urethral Stricture
- One of the major causes of urethral strictures is trauma from accidents or injuries affecting the bladder or the urethra. Studies show that in developing countries, 36 percent of the time, the cause of urethral stricture is trauma.
- Any previous procedures involving the urethra (surgeries, catheters, cystoscopy) can also result in urethral stricture. According to some research, about 35 percent of the cases of urethral strictures in developed countries are caused due to endoscopic procedures.
- Prostate enlargement, infections, or inflammation may also lead to urethral strictures. (Also read: What is the best treatment for an enlarged prostate?)
- In some cases, infections of the urethra or STIs may also cause urethral strictures.
Now, let’s further know about urethroplasty that is considered to be the most reliable solution for urethral stricture.
Urethroplasty- surgical treatment for urethral stricture
Urethroplasty is a surgical procedure to remove the narrowed portion of the urethra. Effective repairing of the urethra by urethroplasty allows the easy flow of urine. Usually, a graft is used in the procedure for the reconstruction of the urethra. Urethroplasty helps in widening the urethral tube and thus is more convenient than the total replacement of the urethra.
Depending upon the size of the stricture, there are two procedures of urethroplasty.
- Excision Urethroplasty (for stricture size of 2 cms or less)
- Graft Urethroplasty (for stricture size of more than 2cms)
To determine the length of the stricture, the doctors use urethral ultrasound.
Urethroplasty for small urethral strictures
Excision urethroplasty is a non-tissue transfer procedure, where no tissue is extracted from any other part of the body. It is effective in the case of small strictures (less than 2 cm). In this procedure, the scarred portion of the urethra is removed surgically. After removing the scar, the loose ends of the urethra are reconnected.
It is preferred only for smaller strictures as it is easier to connect the ends together in such cases. Using excision for longer stricture can result in tension while connecting the ends of the urethra. Therefore, to avoid any complications this procedure is successfully used for small strictures only. In the case of large urethral stricture, graft urethroplasty is preferred.
Urethroplasty for larger urethral strictures
Graft urethroplasty is used to cure the larger urethral strictures (more than 2 cms). Graft urethroplasty involves tissue transfer. In most cases, the doctors use the tissues from the mouth for repairing the urethra.
This procedure of urethroplasty for longer stricture prevents the shortening of the urethra. Thus, there is no chance of surgical failure, it is an entirely safe procedure.
Long-lasting effects of urethroplasty
Urethroplasty is a high precision procedure, is highly durable and has long-lasting impacts. The success rate for urethroplasty is more than 95% and the chances of recurrence of urethral strictures are almost nil for this procedure.