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What is an Urethrotomy?

An urethrotomy is a surgical procedure designed to correct urethral strictures, which are narrowings within the urethra that can impede urine flow. This treatment involves carefully cutting the stricture to restore normal passage. Accompanied by vivid imagery, our article demystifies the process, ensuring you're well-informed. What impact could this have on someone's health? Join us to explore the implications.
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

In men, part of the urinary tract called the urethra, can occasionally become narrow, which is known as stricture. This can be due to things like scarring or injury and it can make flow of urine more difficult or even painful. One method to address this is a urethrotomy, or a surgical method for relieving stricture of the urethra.

Urethrotomy is a closed surgery instead of an open one, and it is one of several choices available to treat stricture. It may not be appropriate if narrowing or scar tissue is extreme, and when stricture is less challenging, surgeons might try other methods instead of urethrotomy, including inflating the urethra with a balloon to widen it, or placing a stent that keeps it open.

In most cases, a patient undergoing a urethrotomy is administered general anesthesia.
In most cases, a patient undergoing a urethrotomy is administered general anesthesia.

However, urethrotomy is the best choice for some patients. Doctors typically explain the surgery in detail to patients, but it can be simply described too. Point of entry for the surgery is the penis, and the surgeon will insert an inflexible device, that is usually attached to a camera or scope, in through the penis. This is known as a urethrotome, and it usually has a small cutting device attached to it. When the area of narrowing is reached, cuts are made so that the urethra will be larger in size. Urine catheterization is typically required during this surgery too, and men are likely to wake with this still in place. The cath is usually removed within a half day to a full day after surgery, and in many cases, men may go home the day of the surgery.

For men, a urethrotomy may be necessary if their urethra is too narrow.
For men, a urethrotomy may be necessary if their urethra is too narrow.

Urethrotomy isn’t a lengthy surgery but it can be painful and anesthesia is required. Most often, the surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Occasionally, surgeons may opt to give a nerve block like an epidural or other spinal block to numb all sensation. This may make this surgery an option for people who would not tolerate general anesthesia due to other health conditions.

An epidural can numb parts of the body from pain, such as during a urethrotomy.
An epidural can numb parts of the body from pain, such as during a urethrotomy.

After having this surgery, it can be uncomfortable to urinate for a few days, and urinating can cause a burning sensation. This tends to get better fairly quickly, and many men note marked improved in urinary flow especially after initial recovery. There are some complications to urethrotomy, and these could include creating stricture elsewhere in the penis, causing holes to form in the bladder, or more generally too much post-operative bleeding or infection. Sometimes urethrotomy is not sufficient to correct stricture, and in this case, surgeons may need to opt for an open surgical procedure to correct the problem, which is called a urethroplasty.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent TheHealthBoard contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Learn more...

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Discussion Comments

gjg3

I'm a doctor. Yes, it is normal. I had a urethrotomy in late July and I am still urinating blood.

anon205778

I just had a urethrotomy four days ago, and had the catheter removed three days after surgery. When I urinate, if the flow is strong enough, I will bleed maybe half a cup of blood after urination. This has only happened a couple of times so far, but should I be concerned?

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    • In most cases, a patient undergoing a urethrotomy is administered general anesthesia.
      By: maska82
      In most cases, a patient undergoing a urethrotomy is administered general anesthesia.
    • For men, a urethrotomy may be necessary if their urethra is too narrow.
      By: isyste
      For men, a urethrotomy may be necessary if their urethra is too narrow.
    • An epidural can numb parts of the body from pain, such as during a urethrotomy.
      By: chanawit
      An epidural can numb parts of the body from pain, such as during a urethrotomy.
    • After having an urethrotomy, it can be uncomfortable to urinate for a few days, and urinating can cause a burning sensation.
      By: Chatchai
      After having an urethrotomy, it can be uncomfortable to urinate for a few days, and urinating can cause a burning sensation.
    • A urethrotomy is a surgical method for relieving stricture of the urethra.
      By: Kot63
      A urethrotomy is a surgical method for relieving stricture of the urethra.
    • Patients who receive general anesthesia during an urethrotomy are carefully monitored throughout the procedure.
      By: fivepointsix
      Patients who receive general anesthesia during an urethrotomy are carefully monitored throughout the procedure.
    • A catheter is typically inserted in the urethra to drain urine during a urethrotomy.
      By: Sherry Young LPN
      A catheter is typically inserted in the urethra to drain urine during a urethrotomy.