Holmium laser vs. conventional (cold knife) direct visual internal urethrotomy for short-segment bulbar urethral stricture: Outcome analysis

Can Urol Assoc J. May-Jun 2016;10(5-6):E161-E164. doi: 10.5489/cuaj.3382. Epub 2016 May 12.


Introduction: Our goal was to analyze the outcome between holmium laser and cold knife direct visual internal urethrotomy (DVIU) for short-segment bulbar urethral stricture.

Methods: We conducted a prospective study comprised of 112 male patients seen from June 2013 to December 2014. Inclusion criterion was short-segment bulbar urethral stricture (≤1.5cm). Exclusion criteria were prior intervention/urethroplasty, pan-anterior urethral strictures, posterior stenosis, urinary tract infection, and those who lost to followup. Patients were divided into two groups; Group A (n=58) included cold knife DVIU and group B (n=54) included holmium laser endourethrotomy patients. Patient followup included uroflowmetry at postoperative Day 3, as well as at three months and six months.

Results: Baseline demographics were comparable in both groups. A total of 107 patients met the inclusion criteria and five patients were excluded due to inadequate followup. Mean stricture length was 1.31 ± 0.252 cm (p=0.53) and 1.34 ± 0.251 cm in Groups A and B, respectively. Mean operating time in Group A was 16.3 ± 1.78 min and in Group B was 20.96 ± 2.23 min (p=0.0001). Five patients in Group A had bleeding after the procedure that was managed conservatively by applying perineal compression. Three patients in Group B had fluid extravasation postoperatively. Qmax (ml/s) was found to be statistically insignificant between the two groups at all followups.

Conclusions: Both holmium laser and cold knife urethrotomy are safe and equally effective in treating short-segment bulbar urethral strictures in terms of outcome and complication rate. However, holmium laser requires more expertise and is a costly alternative.