Introduction: To compare the results of cold-knife optical internal urethrotomy (OIU) and Holmium:YAG laser internal urethrotomy (HIU) in primary bulbar urethral strictures.
Material and methods: A total of 63 patients diagnosed with primary bulbar urethral stricture between August 2014 and September 2015 were assigned to the OIU (n = 29) and HIU (n = 34) groups. The demographic variables, biochemistry panels, and preoperative and postoperative uroflowmetry results including the maximum flow rate (Qmax) and mean flow rate (Qmean) values, retrograde urethrography, and diagnostic flexible urethroscopy findings were recorded prospectively. Demographic features and preoperative values were not statistically different between groups (p >0.05). Mean surgical times were 18.4 ±2.3 min for OIU and 21.9 ±3.8 min for HIU groups, which was statistically significant (p <0.05). There was no significant difference in complication rates in both groups (p = 0.618).
Results: Postoperative Qmax values were increased in both groups even though postoperative Qmax values were not significantly different between the two groups in the short- and long-term results at 3, 6, and 12 months (p >0.05). There was no recurrence in the first 3 months in either group. The urethral stricture recurrence rate up to month 12 was not statistically significant for the OIU group (n = 6, 20.7%) as compared to the HIU group (n = 11, 32.4%; p = 0.299).At follow-up, the SFR and IFR was 96% and 88% at 3-months, and 82% and 71% at 12-months, respectively (p <0.001). While almost three-quarters of patients were stone and infection free at 12-months, the majority of those with stones recurrence also had recurrence of their UTI.
Conclusions: HIU is an alternative method to OIU, and it has similar success rates in the treatment of short segment bulbar urethral strictures.
Keywords: holmium laser; male urethra; urethral stricture.