Meatal/urethral dilatation

What is this?

Stretching of the urethra or the urethral opening for narrowing resulting in a poor urinary stream

What alternatives are there?

Surgical enlargement of the urethral opening, optical urethrotomy, self-dilatation, observation

What to expect before procedure

You will usually be admitted on the same day as your surgery although some patients require admission on the day before surgery. You will normally receive an appointment for pre-assessment, approximately 14 days before your admission, to assess your general fitness, to screen for the carriage of MRSA and to perform some baseline investigations. After admission, you will be seen by members of the medical team which may include the Consultant, Specialist Registrar, House Officer and your named nurse. You will be asked not to eat or drink for 6 hours before surgery and, immediately before the operation, you may be given a pre-medication by the anaesthetist which will make you dry-mouthed and pleasantly sleepy.

What happens during the procedure?

Normally, a full general anaesthetic will be used and you will be asleep throughout the procedure. In some patients, the anaesthetist may also use an epidural anaesthetic which improves or minimises pain post-operatively. The urethra or urethral opening is stretched using metal or plastic dilators after passing local anaesthetic jelly to numb and lubricate the passage.

After the procedure

The urethra or the opening of the urethra are stretched using a variety of instruments. It may be necessary to insert a catheter in the urethra (water pipe) after the procedure. Average hospital stay is 1 day unless a catheter is inserted when it is 2 days.

Potential side effects