Urethroscopy ± biopsy/removal of an urethral lesion

What is this?

Telescopic examination of the urethra (water pipe) ± removal or biopsy of any lesion identified

What alternatives are there?

Open removal, 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. A telescope is inserted through the water pipe (urethra) to inspect both the urethra itself and the whole lining of the bladder. Occasionally, it is necessary to stretch the opening of the urethra to introduce the instrument. If biopsies are necessary, they are usually taken with special forceps down the telescope and this usually requires insertion of a catheter after the procedure.

After the procedure

You will normally be allowed home once you have passed urine satisfactorily. If a catheter is left in place, this will normally be removed within 24 hours and you will be discharged once you have passed urine satisfactorily. The average hospital stay is 2 days.

Potential side effects