Urethral Stricture Disease

The urethra is the tube-like structure that carries urine from the bladder and out of the body. It starts at the opening of the bladder and traverses the entire length of the vulva or the penis. Urethral stricture disease is a narrowing of this tube. It's often the result of injury or prior infection and can develop slowly over years through incremental scarring.  It is much more common in men than women.

Symptoms progress as the tube becomes narrowed. They may include pain with urination, weak urine flow and an inability to empty the bladder. There are no medical therapies to effectively treat urethral strictures, but it can be treated surgically.  UMass Urologists perform these complex surgeries.  Treatment options include the following:

Minimally Invasive Surgery

In very mild cases, surgeons may be able to open the stricture either by enlarging the urethra (urethral dilation) or by cutting through scar tissue with a blade or laser (urethrotomy). These procedures can be done endoscopically, using a tiny camera and instruments, but are still usually done under general anesthesia.

Urethral Repair & Reconstruction

The gold standard and definitive therapy for urethral stricture disease is to remove the scarred segment and join the healthy ends together.  If the stricture is too long for this procedure, surgeons can instead use advanced reconstructive techniques to repair the scarred segment. The tube may be repaired using local skin or with a graft harvested from the inner cheek (called "buccal mucosa grafting").