What is this?

Surgical enlargement of the opening of the urethra to remove narrowing causing a reduced urinary stream

What alternatives are there?

Stretching 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. 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?

Either a full general anaesthetic (where you will be asleep throughout the procedure) or a spinal anaesthetic (where you are awake but unable to feel anything from the waist down) will be used. All methods minimise pain; your anaesthetist will explain the pros and cons of each type of anaesthetic to you. You will usually be given an injectable antibiotic before the procedure after checking for any drug allergies. The opening of the urethra is usually incised with either suturing of the edges of the incision or insertion of a skin graft into the opening. Absorbable sutures are used and do not require removal. Occasionally, it is necessary to insert a catheter into the urethra (water pipe) after the procedure.

After the procedure

If a catheter has been inserted, it is normally removed after 24 hours. The average hospital stay is 3 days.

Potential side effects