Background: Male urethral stricture disease is a challenging condition with a propensity for recurrence following endoscopic management. In recent years, earlier definitive urethral reconstruction has been advocated through international guidelines, prompted by series suggesting the underutilization of urethroplasty at rates of 0.6-0.8%. However, little local data exists to characterize our urethral stricture patients and we aimed to characterize the management of patients with urethral stricture disease presenting over a 10-year period to a single regional centre.
Methods: Patients with urethral stricture disease and admitted to a regional health service were identified. Retrospective chart review was undertaken for patients detailing basic demographics, stricture characteristics, clinical management and follow up.
Results: We identified 360 patients with median age 69 years (interquartile range 56-77). A total of 191 (53%) presented with lower urinary tract symptoms, 122 (34%) urethral strictures were incidental, and 13% presented in urinary retention. Bulbar urethral strictures were the commonest strictures at 40% with most being spontaneous or idiopathic (67%). A total of 339 patients had treatment during their first admission, 48% of patients had subsequent treatment on a second episode, and over 20% had a third or subsequent treatment. Only 21 (5.8%) underwent urethroplasty. Urethral dilatation and optical urethrotomy were most commonly performed (54%). With follow up 19 months (interquartile range 2-56), 205 (57%) were voiding, 38 (11%) were performing intermittent catheterization, and 59 were catheterized permanently.
Conclusion: Definitive urethral reconstruction appears underutilized in our cohort of patients. A high proportion of incidentally presenting urethral strictures emphasizes the importance of wider education to optimize patient outcomes.
Keywords: optical urethrotomy; urethral dilatation; urethral stricture; urethroplasty; urinary retention.
© 2019 Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.