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Perioperative use of tamsulosin significantly decreases rates of urinary retention in men undergoing pelvic surgery.

PURPOSE: Urinary retention is a common complication of pelvic surgery, leading to urinary tract infection and prolonged hospital stays. Tamsulosin is an alpha blocker that works by relaxing bladder neck muscles. It is used to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy and retention. We aim to investigate the potential benefits of preemptive tamsulosin use on rates of urinary retention in men undergoing pelvic surgery.

METHODS: This is a retrospective review of an institutional colorectal database. All men undergoing pelvic surgery between 2004 and 2013 were included. Patients given 0.4 mg of tamsulosin 3 days prior and after surgery at discretion of surgeon starting in 2007 were compared with patients receiving expectant postoperative management.

RESULTS: One hundred eighty-five patients were included in the study (study group: N = 30; control group: N = 155). Study group patients were older (56.8 vs. 50.1 years). Overall urinary retention rate was 22% with significantly lower rates in the study group compared with control (6.7 vs. 25%; p = 0.029). Study group had higher rates of minimally invasive surgery (61 vs. 29.7%); however, this did not impact urinary retention rate (20.6 vs. 22.7% for minimally invasive surgery vs. open surgery; p = 0.85). Independent predictors of urinary retention included lack of preemptive tamsulosin (odds ratio (OR), 7.67; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.4-41.7) and cancer location in the distal third of the rectum (OR, 18.8; 95% CI, 2.1-172.8).

CONCLUSIONS: Preemptive perioperative use of tamsulosin may significantly decrease the incidence of urinary retention in men undergoing pelvic surgery. This may play a role in avoidance of urinary retention, particularly in patients with distal rectal cancer.

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