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Clinic meatotomy under topical anesthesia.

OBJECTIVES: Almost 20 years after Cartwright et al. (1996) demonstrated the feasibility and effectiveness of clinic meatotomy (CM) under topical lidocaine and prilocaine (EMLA) anesthesia, 50% of meatotomies are still performed under general anesthesia (GA) (Godley et al., 2015). The cost of a meatotomy under GA is approximately 10 times the cost of CM in the present practice. This study presented the outcomes for CM under topical anesthesia, in consecutive patients who presented with meatal stenosis secondary to circumcision.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective descriptive study of data, which were collected prospectively for quality improvement purposes from July 2013 to September 2015, of 55 consecutive boys who underwent CM for meatal stenosis (occlusion of urethral meatus by a crust; deflected stream). Meatotomy was performed after applying EMLA and covering it with a TegadermĀ® dressing, and then waiting 20-60 min. The recorded outcomes were pain and success rate. Pain was defined at the beginning of data collection as any sound, grimace or movement during the procedure. Success rate was recorded during follow-up in the clinic or over the phone, when the family was asked if symptoms were the same, improved or completely resolved.

RESULTS: Forty-three boys (78%) had no pain and 12 (22%) had pain as defined above (Figure), but no CM had to be stopped due to pain. At a median follow-up of 1.6 months (IQR 1.3-2.7 months) 41 (75%) patients had resolution of their symptoms and a normal urinary stream, nine (16%) had improved symptoms, and three (5%) had unchanged symptoms.

CONCLUSIONS: More patients reported pain than those in the Cartwright study; this was perhaps because a full hour was not waited after EMLA application with most of the present patients. The present success rate was also lower than that reported by Cartwright, and for that there is no explanation. However, all CM could be completed and >90% of patients saw resolution or improvement of their symptoms. At a cost ten times lower than a meatotomy performed under GA, and with no evidence of inferiority evident in the literature, it is believed that CM should be the standard of care when meatal stenosis is treated by a meatotomy.

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