A new method of urethroplasty for prevention of fistula in female-to-male gender reassignment surgery

Seok-Kwun Kim, Joo-Bong Moon, Jeong Heo, Yong-Seok Kwon, Keun-Cheol Lee
Annals of Plastic Surgery 2010, 64 (6): 759-64
One of the primary goals of the phalloplasty for female-to-male transsexuals is to gain the voiding ability in the standing position. However, achieving the competence of urethra, sensation and rigidity of the neophallus is still a significant challenge. Serious complications such as urethral fistula, obstruction and stricture were encountered in this surgery. In experienced hands, this seems to be associated with urethroplasty technique. The authors performed phalloplasty with radial forearm osteocutaneous free flap method in 70 patients of female-to-male transsexuals. In 38 cases which were enrolled before 2001, we had carried out the urethroplasty by our own method, but since 2001, we have applied the modified method of urethroplasty to reduce the incidence of urethrocutaneous fistula. Thirty-four cases have undergone a new modified method of ours. For construction of the urethra, an anteriorly based vaginal wall flap and labium minoral flaps were used in this technique. In our new method series, 1 case (1.4%) of flap loss occurred after phalloplasty. The incidence of urethrocutaneous fistula was 30%. Before the year 2001, of 38 patients, there were 14 cases (36.8%) who developed urethrocutaneous fistula. On the other hand, 7 of 32 patients (21.9%) who underwent urethroplasty by the modified labium minoral flap and anteriorly based vaginal flap had urethrocutaneous fistula after 2001. One-stage total phalloplasty and urethroplasty is associated with a significant increase of urethral fistula and obstruction. However, the urethrocutaneous fistula at the level of the female external urethral orifice can be successfully reduced using this new method.

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