When the urethra is damaged, urethral reconstruction may be needed to restore normal urinary function.
The urethra is the tube leading from the bladder that passes urine out of the body. It’s much longer in men than in women, and it is more common for men to suffer urethral damage that requires surgery.
Some potential causes of urethral damage include:
- Trauma, such as a pelvic fracture
- Prostate cancer treatment, including radiation therapy or surgery
- Frequent urinary tract infections
When scar tissue forms in the urethra, it can cause a urethral stricture, or a narrowing of a section of the urethra. This can lead to painful and obstructed urination as well as urinary tract infections. Individuals with urethral stricture may require catheterization, and depending on the severity of the condition, urethral reconstruction may be recommended.
Urethral Reconstruction Details
The goal of urethral reconstruction is to restore normal urinary function by removing and reconstructing the damaged section of the urethra. This can be accomplished through posterior urethral reconstruction.
What to Expect With Urethral Reconstruction
Urethral reconstruction surgery is performed under general anesthesia and an overnight hospital stay is often required. During posterior urethral reconstruction, the scarred portion of the urethra is removed and the two healthy ends are stitched together. If too large a section of the urethra has to be removed and the remaining ends can’t be stitched together, tissue may be taken from another area of the body and used to bridge the gap.
Following the procedure, a catheter will be inserted for three to four weeks while the urethra is healing.
How Effective Is Urethral Reconstruction?
Urethral reconstruction has a long-term success rate of over 90% and is considered to be the best option for patient’s hoping for lasting relief from their symptoms.
Tampa General Hospital treats a full range of urological conditions ranging from common urinary tract infections to complex cancers of the bladder, kidneys and genitourinary tract. For conditions that require multispecialty management, our urology team can partner with other teams at TGH, such as oncology and gynecology.