What is Urethrotomy?
A urethrotomy is an operation which involves incision of the urethra, especially for relief of a stricture. It is most often performed in the outpatient setting, with the patient (usually) being discharged from the hospital or surgery center within six hours from the procedure's inception.
Urethrotomy (often referred to as DVIU, or Direct Visual Internal Urethrotomy) is a popular treatment for male urethral strictures. However, the performance characteristics are poor. Success is less than 9% for the first or subsequent urethrotomies. Most patients will be expected to experience failure with longer followup and the expected long-term success rate from any urethrotomy approach is 0%. Beginning in 2003, several urology residency programs in the northeastern section of the United States began advocating the use of urethrotomy as initial treatment in the young stricture patient, versus urethral dilatation. It is theorized that the one-to-two years of relief from stricture disease will allow the practitioner and the patient to plan the most effective treatment regimen without having the concern that undergoing multiple dilitations cloud the judgment of the patient. Furthermore, should urethroplasty be selected by the patient, minimal scar tissue will have developed at the site of the stricture in the urethrotomy patient, as opposed to the patient who had undergone the more conventional (dilitation) route.