Post-traumatic female urethral reconstruction

Jerry G Blaivas, Rajveer S Purohit
Current Urology Reports 2008, 9 (5): 397-404
Post-traumatic urethral damage resulting in urethrovaginal fistulas or strictures, though rare, should be suspected in patients who have unexpected urinary incontinence or lower urinary tract symptoms after pelvic surgery, pelvic fracture, a long-term indwelling urethral catheter, or pelvic radiation. Careful physical examination and cystourethroscopy are critical to diagnose and assess the extent of the fistula. A concomitant vesicovaginal or ureterovaginal fistula should also be ruled out. The two main indications for reconstruction are sphincteric incontinence and urethral obstruction. Surgical correction intends to create a continent urethra that permits volitional, painless, and unobstructed passage of urine. An autologous pubovaginal sling, with or without a Martius flap at time of reconstruction, should be considered. The three approaches to urethral reconstruction are anterior bladder flaps, posterior bladder flaps, and vaginal wall flaps. We believe vaginal flaps are usually the best option. Options for vaginal repair of fistula include primary closure, peninsula flaps, bilateral labial pedicle flaps, and labial island flaps. Outcomes are optimized by using exacting surgical principles during repair and careful postoperative management by an experienced reconstructive surgeon.

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