COLOR DOPPLER ULTRASOUND ASSESSMENT OF URETHRAL ARTERY LOCATION: POTENTIAL IMPLICATION FOR TECHNIQUE OF VISUAL INTERNAL URETHROTOMY

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Abstract

Purpose

We assessed the location of urethral arteries in patients with urethral stricture using color Doppler ultrasound.

Materials and Methods

We performed 41 color ultrasound studies of the urethra in 33 patients 17 to 76 years old. The linear array transducer was placed on the ventral surface of the penis and perineum to image the urethra and periurethral structures. In addition of evaluating the extent of stricture disease, color Doppler ultrasound determined the location of the urethral arteries at the segment with stricture.

Results

The number and site of the urethral arteries vary among individuals. Contrary to the common belief that these arteries are located at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions, we have found that in the bulbous urethra the arteries are at the 1 to 2 o'clock positions in 14% of cases, 3 to 4 in 22%, 5 to 6 in 17%, 7 to 8 in 18%, 9 to 10 in 18% and 11 to 12 in 11%. The arteries may be close to the surface of the urethral lumen, especially in patients who have undergone previous urethral procedures. Preoperative evaluation of urethral artery location may be helpful for preventing arterial bleeding at visual internal urethrotomy.

Conclusions

Color Doppler ultrasound can effectively assess the extent of stricture disease and urethral artery sites. Because the location of the urethral arteries varies among patients, individual preoperative assessment is advisable. Color Doppler ultrasound is currently our imaging method of choice for evaluating strictures of the pendulous and bulbous urethra.

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