Introduction: An extensive study of complications following urethroplasty has never been published. We present 60 urethroplasty patients who were specifically questioned to determine every possible early and late complication.
Materials and methods: Retrospective chart review of urethroplasty patients between August 2000 and March 2004. An "open format" questioning style allowed maximal patient reporting of all complications, no matter how minor.
Results: 60 patients underwent 62 urethroplasties (24 anterior anastomotic, 19 buccal mucosal and 10 fasciocutaneous, 9 posterior anastomotic) with mean follow-up of 29 months. Early complications occurred in 40%, but only 3% were major (rectal injury and urosepsis). Early minor complications included scrotal swelling, scrotal ecchymosis and urinary urgency. Late complications occurred in 48%, but only 18% were significant (erectile dysfunction, chordee and fistula). Late minor complications included a feeling of wound tightness, scrotal numbness and urine spraying. Fasciocutaneous urethroplasty caused the most significant complications, and buccal mucus urethroplasty the least, while also resulting in the lowest recurrence rate (0%).
Conclusions: Serious complications after urethroplasty (3% early and 18% late) appear similar to those reported elsewhere, but minor bothersome complications appear to occur in much higher numbers than previously published (39% early and 40% late). While all the early complications were resolved and most (97%) were minor, less than half of the late complications were resolved, although most (82%) were minor. These complication rates should be considered when counseling the urethroplasty patients, and generally tend to support the use of buccal mucosal onlay urethroplasty as it had the lowest rate of serious side effects.