Urethrotomy | Ramsay Health Care UK

Urethrotomy

This webpage will give you information about a urethrotomy. If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What is a urethrotomy?

A urethrotomy is an operation to treat a narrowing of the urethra (tube that carries urine to the tip of your penis). The narrowing is usually caused by scar tissue forming after inflammation, an infection or injury. This can cause a slow flow of urine, often with dribbling, pain, bleeding and infection.

What are the benefits of surgery?

The benefits of surgery are a better flow of urine, improved bladder emptying and less need to get up at night. You should also be less prone to infections.

Are there any alternatives to a urethrotomy?

Other techniques used to treat a narrowing are balloon dilatation, using dilators and inserting a stent.

More complicated narrowings sometimes need open surgery.

What does the operation involve?

A urethrotomy is performed under a general or spinal anaesthetic. The operation usually takes less than half an hour.

Your surgeon will pass a rigid fibre-optic telescope (cystoscope) into your urethra (see figure 1).

Your surgeon will make a cut in the scar tissue to make the urethra wider.

 

Urethrotomy

What complications can happen?

1 General complications

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

2 Specific complications

  • Retention of urine
  • A swollen penis
  • Narrowing of another part of the urethra

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day or the day after.

You should be able to return to work after a few days.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Sometimes a narrowing can happen again.

Most men make a good recovery, with a big improvement in their symptoms. Progress is most rapid in the first six weeks but improvement can continue for many months, particularly if your bladder has become overactive.

Summary

A narrowing of the urethra can cause a slow flow of urine, often with dribbling, pain, bleeding and infection. A urethrotomy should relieve your symptoms.


Acknowledgements

Author: Mr John Lemberger FRCS and Mr Scott Donnellan FRACS

Illustrations: Medical Illustration Copyright © 2011 Nucleus Medical Art. All rights reserved. www.nucleusinc.com

This document is intended for information purposes only and should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

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