JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Urethroplasty: a geographic disparity in care.

PURPOSE: Urethroplasty is the gold standard for urethral strictures but its geographic prevalence throughout the United States is unknown. We analyzed where and how often urethroplasty was being performed in the United States compared to other treatment modalities for urethral stricture.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: De-identified case logs from the American Board of Urology were collected from certifying/recertifying urologists from 2004 to 2009. Results were categorized by ZIP codes to determine the geographic distribution.

RESULTS: Case logs from 3,877 urologists (2,533 recertifying and 1,344 certifying) were reviewed including 1,836 urethroplasties, 13,080 urethrotomies and 19,564 urethral dilations. The proportion of urethroplasty varied widely among states (range 0% to 17%). The ratio of urethroplasty-to-urethrotomy/dilation also varied widely from state to state, but overall 1 urethroplasty was performed for every 17 urethrotomies or dilations performed. Certifying urologists were 3 times as likely to perform urethroplasty as recertifying urologists (12% vs 4%, respectively, p<0.05). Urethroplasties were performed more commonly in states with residency programs (mean 5% vs 3%). Some states reported no urethroplasties during the observation period (Vermont, North Dakota, South Dakota, Maine and West Virginia).

CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge this is the first report on the geographic distribution of urethroplasty for urethral stricture disease. There are large variations in the rates of urethroplasty performed throughout the United States, indicating a disparity of care, especially for those regions in which few or no urethroplasties were reported. This disparity may decrease with time as younger certifying urologists are performing 3 times as many urethroplasties as older recertifying urologists.

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