Urethral strictures are relatively common, and result in around 5000 hospitalizations per year, plus many more outpatient office visits and treatments. Some men who have urethral stricture disease undergo repeated treatments and may feel as if they will always struggle with difficult urinary tract problems.
Dr. Paul Chung is a highly trained specialist who can effectively treat urethral stricture disease, meaning that you can finally be free of a problem that can have a significant impact on your life. Urethroplasty is one of the most effective methods for treating recurrent strictures.
A little anatomy
Your urethra is lined with tissue called epithelium, which is one of the main types of tissues in your body. Epithelium tissue also lines your entire digestive tract. Your urethra is surrounded by erectile tissue called the corpus spongiosum.
It runs from your bladder, through your prostate gland and along the bottom of your penis, and where it ends is called the external urethral meatus. It’s divided into segments, called the prostatic, membranous, bulbous, and penile segments. Your urethra allows urine and semen to pass out of your body.
Urethral stricture defined
Urethral strictures are far more common in men than in women. A stricture is a narrowing of the urethra and can occur anywhere, from where your urethra connects to your bladder to where it ends and urine exits your body.
Depending on the location and severity of the stricture, you may experience a variety of symptoms, such as:
- A weak urine stream
- The need to strain to urinate
- Pain when you urinate
- Dribbling after urination
- An inability to completely empty your bladder
- Chronic urinary tract infections
- Blood in your urine or semen
There are four types of urethral strictures. The first two types are strictures that don’t have a discernible cause and those that are caused by a medical procedure such as treatments for prostate cancer. Strictures can also happen due to a traumatic injury such as a straddle fall, or due to inflammation, though those causes are less common.
Strictures are a buildup of scar tissue, and unfortunately sometimes the treatment for a urethral stricture causes further damage, creating more scar tissue leading to a vicious cycle.
Urethroplasty: an effective treatment
Urethroplasty is a surgical procedure to remove the stricture and rebuild the urethra, which stops the cycle of scar tissue formation, symptoms, and treatment. During urethroplasty, Dr. Chung makes an incision, removes the section of your urethra that is blocked, then reconnects your urethra.
In some cases he performs a buccal graft, which means he uses some epithelial tissue from your mouth to reconstruct your urethra. In other cases, usually when the stricture is longer, he uses a technique called skin flap, in which he uses flaps of skin from your penis to build a new section of urethra.
The treatment that is likely to work best for you depends on the type of urethral stricture you have, if or how often your stricture has reformed after treatment, as well as your age and medical history. Dr. Chung always suggests treatments based on your specific issues and situation. If you’d like to learn more about how urethral strictures can be treated, schedule an appointment at either of our Philadelphia locations today.