Buccal mucosa graft urethroplasty for anterior urethral stricture repair: evaluation of the impact of stricture location and lichen sclerosus on surgical outcome

Laurence A Levine, Kurt H Strom, Matthew M Lux
Journal of Urology 2007, 178 (5): 2011-5

PURPOSE: We report our experience with buccal mucosa grafts for anterior urethral strictures. We compared outcomes in the pendulous and bulbar urethra as well as the impact of lichen sclerosus on success.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A total of 53 men underwent buccal mucosa graft urethroplasty from 1997 to 2004 for strictures of all etiologies, including lichen sclerosis in 13. Of the patients 46 underwent 1-stage repair and 7 with full-thickness circumferential disease underwent multistage repair. For 1-stage repair strictures were limited to the bulb in 33 cases and they involved the pendulous urethra in 13. A dorsal onlay was used in 24 cases and a ventral onlay was used in 22. For multistage urethroplasty 2 strictures were in the bulbar urethra and 5 were in the pendulous urethra. Success was defined as no postoperative procedures or complications.

RESULTS: The success rate of all urethroplasties was 81% (43 of 53 cases) at a mean followup of 52 months. For bulbar vs pendulous urethroplasty the success rate was 86% (30 of 35 cases) vs 72% (13 of 18, p = 0.23). For 1-stage urethroplasty by graft location success was achieved in 20 of 24 cases (83%) for dorsal onlay vs 17 of 22 (77%) for ventral onlay (p = 0.61), in 18 of 21 (86%) for bulbar-dorsal onlay, in 10 of 12 (83%) for bulbar-ventral onlay, in 2 of 3 (66%) for pendulous-dorsal onlay and in 7 of 10 (70%) for pendulous-ventral onlay. For multistage urethroplasty success was achieved in 2 of 2 cases (100%) for bulbar repair vs 4 of 5 (80%) for pendulous repair. In the 13 patients with lichen sclerosus success was achieved in 4 of 8 (50%) with 1-stage repair vs 4 of 5 (80%) with multistage repair (p = 0.28). Complications developed in 10 of 53 cases (19%), including fistula in 1, urinary tract infection in 1 and stricture in 8 that required treatment, including dilation in 3, internal urethrotomy in 4 and perineal urethrostomy in 1. Five of these 8 recurrent strictures (63%) developed in patients with lichen sclerosus, including 4 in urethras in which 1-stage repair was done for lichen sclerosus. There were no donor site complications, postoperative erectile dysfunction or chordee.

CONCLUSIONS: A buccal mucosa graft placed dorsally or ventrally remains an excellent graft material in the bulbar and pendulous urethra. When lichen sclerosus is present, careful consideration should be given to complete excision of the diseased urethra with multistage repair vs accepting a higher rate of stricture recurrence with 1-stage repair.

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