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      A Comprehensive Review Emphasizing Anatomy, Etiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Male Urethral Stricture Disease


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          To date, urethral stricture disease in men, though relatively common, represents an often poorly managed condition. Therefore, this article is dedicated to encompassing the currently existing data upon anatomy, etiology, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease, based on more than 40 years of experience at a tertiary referral center and a PubMed literature review enclosing publications until September 2018.

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          Etiology of urethral stricture disease in the 21st century.

          We determined the current etiology of urethral stricture disease in the developed world and whether there are any differences in etiology by patient age and stricture site. Between January 2001 and August 2007 we prospectively collected a database on 268 male patients with urethral stricture disease who underwent urethroplasty at a referral center. The database was analyzed for possible cause of stricture and for previous interventions. Subanalysis was done for stricture etiology by patient age and stricture site. The most important causes were idiopathy, transurethral resection, urethral catheterization, pelvic fracture and hypospadias surgery. Overall iatrogenic causes (transurethral resection, urethral catheterization, cystoscopy, prostatectomy, brachytherapy and hypospadias surgery) were the etiology in 45.5% of stricture cases. In patients younger than 45 years the main causes were idiopathy, hypospadias surgery and pelvic fracture. In patients older than 45 years the main causes were transurethral resection and idiopathy. In cases of penile urethra hypospadias surgery idiopathic stricture, urethral catheterization and lichen sclerosus were the main causes, while in the bulbar urethra idiopathic strictures were most prevalent, followed by strictures due to transurethral resection. The main cause of multifocal/panurethral anterior stricture disease was urethral catheterization, while pelvic fracture was the main cause of posterior urethral strictures. Of strictures treated with urethroplasty today iatrogenic causes account for about half of the urethral stricture cases in the developed world. In about 1 of 3 cases no obvious cause could be identified. The etiology is significantly different in younger vs older patients and among stricture sites.
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            Treatment of male urethral strictures: is repeated dilation or internal urethrotomy useful?

            We evaluate the efficacy of repeated dilation or urethrotomy as treatment of male urethral strictures. Between January 1991 and January 1994, 210 men with proved urethral strictures were prospectively randomized to undergo filiform dilation (106) or internal urethrotomy (104). Followup was scheduled at 3, 6, 9, 12, 24, 36 and 48 months. Dilation or internal urethrotomy was repeated at the first and second stricture recurrence. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate survivor function for the treatment methods (survival time being the time to first stricture recurrence) and the log rank test was used to compare the efficacy of different treatments. Followup (mean 24 months, range 2 to 63) was available in 163 patients (78%). After a single dilation or urethrotomy not followed by re-stricturing at 3 months, the estimated stricture-free rate was 55 to 60% at 24 months and 50 to 60% at 48 months. After a second dilation or urethrotomy for stricture recurrence at 3 months the stricture-free rate was 30 to 50% at 24 months and 0 to 40% at 48 months. After a third dilation or urethrotomy for stricture recurrence at 3 and 6 months the stricture-free rate at 24 months was 0 (p <0.0001). Dilation and internal urethrotomy are useful in a select group (approximately 70% of all patients) who are stricture-free at 3 months, and of whom 50 to 60% will remain stricture-free up to 48 months. A second dilation or urethrotomy for early stricture recurrence (at 3 months) is of limited value in the short term (24 months) but of no value in the long term (48 months), whereas a third repeated dilation or urethrotomy is of no value.
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              Urethrotomy has a much lower success rate than previously reported.

              We evaluated the success rate of direct vision internal urethrotomy as a treatment for simple male urethral strictures. A retrospective chart review was performed on 136 patients who underwent urethrotomy from January 1994 through March 2009. The Kaplan-Meier method was used to analyze stricture-free probability after the first, second, third, fourth and fifth urethrotomy. Patients with complex strictures (36) were excluded from the study for reasons including previous urethroplasty, neophallus or previous radiation, and 24 patients were lost to followup. Data were available for 76 patients. The stricture-free rate after the first urethrotomy was 8% with a median time to recurrence of 7 months. For the second urethrotomy stricture-free rate was 6% with a median time to recurrence of 9 months. For the third urethrotomy stricture-free rate was 9% with a median time to recurrence of 3 months. For procedures 4 and 5 stricture-free rate was 0% with a median time to recurrence of 20 and 8 months, respectively. Urethrotomy is a popular treatment for male urethral strictures. However, the performance characteristics are poor. Success rates were no higher than 9% in this series for first or subsequent urethrotomy during the observation period. Most of the patients in this series will be expected to experience failure with longer followup and the expected long-term success rate from any (1 through 5) urethrotomy approach is 0%. Urethrotomy should be considered a temporizing measure until definitive curative reconstruction can be planned. 2010 American Urological Association Education and Research, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                Biomed Res Int
                Biomed Res Int
                BioMed Research International
                18 April 2019
                : 2019
                1Ghent University, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent, Belgium
                2Department of Urology, Algemeen Ziekenhuis Maria Middelares, Ghent, Belgium
                Author notes

                Guest Editor: Francisco E. Martins

                Copyright © 2019 Wesley Verla et al.

                This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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