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Optical Urethrotomy

About Optical Urethrotomy 
Optical Urethrotomy is the medical name of an operation to treat a urethral stricture. A urethral stricture is the medical name for a ring of scar tissue surrounding the urinary passage from the bladder. Although urethral stricture can occur anywhere from the the bladder to the external opening of the urinary passage the most common places are at the base of the penis and also just inside the external opening of the urinary passage.There are different ways to treat this condition but the usual first step is to use a special instrument passed down the urinary passage and using a sharp knife to make a cut through the scar tissue and then depending on how much of a cut has been made it may be necessary to put a catheter in the bladder to hold the scarred area open for the first few hours or for 2-3 days. This treatment cures the problem in about half of men but in the other half the stricture (scar tissue) may return. If the scar tissue returns it is possible to repeat the urethrotomy but it becomes less and less successful each time it is repeated and therfore if the first treatment does not work then it is usual to consider alternatives. In younger men this is usually an operation to repair the damaged section of urethra and surprisingly this is often best done using a skin graft of skin taken from then inside of the mouth. In older men it is often best to learn to keep the narrowing open with periodic self dilatation using a slippery catheter.

What are the risks
All operations carry some risks. Complications from this procedure include: -
• Bleeding
• Water infection
• Pain when first passing urine after removal of the catheter.
• Recurrence of the stricture. For this reason you may be taught to self-dilate the stricture with a catheter. If the doctor feels this is a suitable treatment you may be taught before leaving hospital.
Post-operative advice
• If you have a temperature, pain or excessive bleeding, contact your doctor.
• Avoid any heavy lifting for two weeks
• Avoid driving for one week.
• Returning to work depends on the nature of your work, please ask your consultant.