Adult Anterior Urethral Strictures: A National Practice Patterns Survey of Board Certified Urologists in the United States

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Abstract

Purpose

We determined the methods and patterns of the evaluation of and treatment for adult anterior urethral stricture disease by practicing urologists in the United States.

Materials and Methods

A nationwide survey of practicing members of the American Urological Association was performed by a mailed questionnaire. A total of 1,262 urologists were randomly selected from all 50 states, of whom 431 (34%) completed the questionnaire.

Results

Most urologists (63%) treat 6 to 20 urethral strictures yearly. The most common procedures used by those surveyed for urethral strictures were dilation (92.8%), optical internal urethrotomy (85.6%) and endourethral stent (23.4%). Minimally invasive procedures are used more frequently that any open urethroplasty technique. Furthermore, most urologists (57.8%) do not perform urethroplasty surgery. When used, the most common urethroplasty surgeries performed were end-to-end anastomotic urethroplasty, perineal urethrostomy and ventral skin graft urethroplasty. Few urologists (4.2%) performed buccal mucosa grafts. For a long bulbar urethral stricture or short bulbar urethral stricture refractory to internal urethrotomy 20% to 29% of respondents would refer to another urologist, while 31% to 33% would continue to manage the stricture by minimally invasive means despite predictable failure. Of the urologists 74% believed that the literature supports a reconstructive surgical ladder, in which urethroplasty is only performed after repeat failure of endoscopic methods.

Conclusions

Most urologists in the United States have little experience with urethroplasty surgery. Most urologists erroneously believe that the literature supports a reconstructive surgical ladder for urethral stricture management. Unfamiliarity with the literature and inexperience with urethroplasty surgery have made the use of endoscopic methods inappropriately common.

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