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What is a Urethrotomy?

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If anything obstructs or narrows the urethra, the result is often difficult urination and an increased risk of infection and other urinary system problems. A common cause of urethra blockage is the accumulation of scar tissue, referred to as a urethral stricture. Should nonsurgical attempts at restoring normal urine flow not be effective, a urethrotomy may be a recommended treatment option. The procedure is performed with a urethrotome, a surgical instrument used to remove scar tissue in the urethra.

Why Would a Urethrotomy Be Performed?

If the urethra is narrowed by scar tissue or inflammation, initial treatments may involve catheterization and antibiotics if there is an infection. If such treatments aren't improving urine flow, then surgery usually becomes an option. One of the most common procedures is a urethrotomy.

How Is the Procedure Performed?

Done under general or spinal anesthesia, a urethrotomy is an endoscopic procedure performed by inserting a flexible, lighted scope with a lens attached (cystoscope) into the urethra. Instruments are then inserted through the cystoscope to remove the stricture in the urine tube.

How Is a Urethrotome Used?

Fitted on a resectoscope, this knife-like instrument is placed over a guidewire and inserted into the urethra through the cystoscope to the bladder. It is moved with the guidewire to remove scar tissue blocking the urethra. Moving the instrument, which has sharp, square edges, through the stricture gently stretches and divides fibrous bands in the affected area. This allows the scar tissue to be cut away with precision to widen the urethra. The instrument may also be used to enlarge suprapubic or nephrostomy tracts to further improve urine drainage.

What Are Possible Patient Benefits?

Since minimally invasive techniques are used to reach the affected part of the urethra, patients often experience a shorter recovery period. The use of a specialized knife instrument that can be inserted through the urethra can also reduce risks associated with laser treatments, such as unintentionally damaging healthy tissues. Patients may also be able to avoid the need for removal of part of the urethra.

Most patients see noticeable improvements in urinary habits following a urethrotomy. For urologists or surgeons looking for quality equipment to perform such procedures, a cost-effective source is a trusted online distributor such as the Medical Device Store. Both new and reconditioned equipment is offered and warranty protection is usually included for added peace of mind.