Background and purpose: In the evaluation and treatment of patients with urethral strictures, assessment of the stricture is of paramount importance. To date, urologists have relied on retrograde or antegrade urethrography or both to define stricture length and associated characteristics. Antegrade urethrography typically requires suprapubic access to the bladder, adding to the morbidity of stricture treatment. Herein, we describe the feasibility of using a new method for diagnosing, staging, and managing urethral stricture disease.
Patients and methods: Twenty-four men with urethral strictures underwent urethroscopy with a 7.5F, 26-cm "pediatric" flexible cystoscope to stage and manage their disease. Comparison of urethroscopy with retrograde urethrography was made with respect to characterizing the stricture.
Results: In all cases, the urethral strictures could be navigated with the 7.5F cystoscope. Documentation of the stricture length and the density of scar tissue and identification and characterization of additional pathology (urethral calculi proximal to the stricture in two patients) were possible in all cases, including four patients with recurrent stricture after complex urethroplasty.
Conclusion: The 7.5F, 26-cm pediatric flexible cystoscope represents a useful tool in the diagnosis and management of urethral stricture disease. Further studies will be necessary to determine the cost-effectiveness, patient morbidity, and ability to tailor therapy appropriately in comparison with standard retrograde urethrography or voiding cystourethrography.