The treatment of posterior urethral disruption associated with pelvic fractures: comparative experience of early realignment versus delayed urethroplasty

J Urol. 2005 Mar;173(3):873-6. doi: 10.1097/01.ju.0000152145.33215.36.


Purpose: Urological treatment of the patient with severe mechanical trauma and urethral disruption remains controversial. Debate continues regarding the advisability of early realignment vs delayed open urethroplasty. We analyzed our experience with 96 patients to determine the long-term results of the 2 approaches.

Materials and methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 191 men with posterior urethral disruption after severe blunt pelvic injury between 1984 and 2001, of whom 96 survived. Data on 57 patients who underwent early realignment were compared to those on 39 treated with delayed urethroplasty with an average 8.8-year followup (range 1 to 22). All patients were evaluated postoperatively for incontinence, impotence and urethral strictures.

Results: The majority of patients had severe concomitant organ injuries (78%) and severe pelvic fractures (76%). The overall mortality rate was 51%. Diagnosis of urethral rupture was based on clinical findings and retrograde urethrography. Strictures developed in 49% of the early realignment group and in 100% of the suprapubic tube group. Impotence (33.6%) and incontinence (17.7%) were less frequent in the early realignment group than in the delayed reconstruction group (42.1% and 24.9%, respectively). Patients with delayed reconstruction underwent an average of 3.1 procedures compared with an average of 1.6 in the early realignment group.

Conclusions: Early realignment may provide better outcomes than delayed open urethroplasty after posterior urethral disruption. Increased complications are not seen and, although it can be inconvenient in the massively injured patient, it appears to be a worthwhile maneuver.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fractures, Bone / complications*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pelvic Bones / injuries*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Urethra / injuries*
  • Urethra / surgery*
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures / methods