Urethral diverticula in 90 female patients: a study with emphasis on neoplastic alterations

J Urol. 2008 Dec;180(6):2463-7. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2008.08.040. Epub 2008 Oct 19.


Purpose: Urethral diverticula are uncommon and occur predominantly in women. We examined a large series of female urethral diverticula to determine associated neoplastic alterations and subsequent clinical outcomes.

Materials and methods: All pathological evaluations of female urethral diverticulectomies performed at our institution between 1981 and 2007 were retrospectively reviewed and the clinicopathological features were correlated.

Results: During this period 90 women underwent urethral diverticulectomy at our institution. Patient age was 24 to 78 years (mean 45). The most common clinical finding was urinary incontinence (29 of 78 women or 37%). Diverticular size was 0.3 to 5.0 cm (mean 1.7). Neoplastic alterations identified in 5 patients (6%) were glandular in nature, including 1 clear cell and 4 invasive adenocarcinomas. Superficial changes associated with invasive carcinoma included villous adenoma in 1 case, intestinal metaplasia in 2 and high grade dysplasia in 3. An additional 3 patients had extensive intestinal metaplasia. Of the 90 patients the remaining 82 demonstrated benign findings, including nephrogenic adenoma in 10 (11%). All 5 patients with invasive carcinoma underwent anterior pelvic exenteration with urinary diversion. In 2 patients with invasive adenocarcinoma metastatic disease subsequently developed, of which they died.

Conclusions: Although most cases of surgically resected diverticula demonstrate benign features, approximately 10% show atypical glandular findings, including invasive adenocarcinoma. Due to the risk of malignancy in a subset of patients careful clinical examination and followup are warranted in all patients to exclude neoplastic disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Diverticulum / complications*
  • Diverticulum / pathology*
  • Diverticulum / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Urethral Diseases / complications*
  • Urethral Diseases / pathology*
  • Urethral Diseases / surgery
  • Urethral Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Urethral Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Young Adult