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Treatment of urethral stricture disease in men

Andrew Peterson, MD
Section Editor
Jerome P Richie, MD, FACS
Deputy Editor
Wenliang Chen, MD, PhD


Urethral stricture disease is relatively common in men with most patients acquiring the disease due to injury or infection. The most common etiology for stricture is iatrogenic injury due to urologic instrumentation (eg, oversized resectoscope at the time of transurethral surgery) or the placement of indwelling catheters [1]. These and other causes of urethral stricture are given in the table (table 1).

Although some patients are able to relate a definitive history of prior instrumentation, injury or infection, the etiology of the stricture often remains unknown due to the lag time between an inciting event and the development of symptoms. Most patients present with chronic voiding symptoms, but acute urinary obstruction can occur without significant warning, requiring emergent urethral dilation or urinary diversion.

Pretreatment evaluation identifies the location, length and severity of the stricture and guides the choice of treatment which can include minimally-invasive therapies, urinary diversion, or urethral reconstruction. A single treatment strategy is not appropriate for all the different types of strictures.

The treatment of urethral stricture disease in men will be reviewed here. The clinical features and diagnosis of the various pathologies that may result in urethral stricture are discussed in separate topic reviews.


The urethra conveys urine from the bladder to the exterior of the body. It is important to understand the urethral anatomy in the male because urethral stricture disease differs in its etiology, diagnosis and management based upon stricture location. Iatrogenic injury may affect any segment of the urethra. Pelvic fractures can cause distraction defects in the posterior urethra, whereas blunt perineal trauma injures the bulbar urethra. (See 'Urethroplasty technique by location' below.)


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Literature review current through: Sep 2016. | This topic last updated: Dec 15, 2014.
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