Urethral diverticulum: A systematic review

Alyssa K Greiman, Jennifer Rolef, Eric S Rovner
Arab Journal of Urology 2019, 17 (1): 49-57
Objective : To present a review of the current literature regarding the presentation, diagnosis, and treatment of female urethral diverticula (UD). Methods : A systematic search of the PubMed database was performed to identify studies evaluating female UD. Article titles, abstracts and full-text manuscripts were screened to identify relevant studies, which then underwent data extraction and analysis. Results : In all, 50 studies evaluating the presentation, diagnosis and treatment of female UD were deemed relevant for inclusion. Almost all studies were retrospective single-arm case series. Female UD are outpouchings of the urethral lumen into the surrounding connective tissue. The presentation of female UD is diverse and can range from incidental findings to lower urinary tract symptoms, frequent urinary tract infections, dyspareunia, urinary incontinence (UI), or malignancy. Repair of UD begins with an accurate assessment and diagnosis, which should include adequate radiographic imaging, usually including magnetic resonance imaging. Once the diagnosis is confirmed, the usual treatment is surgical excision and reconstruction, most often through a transvaginal approach. The principles of transvaginal urethral diverticulectomy include: removal of the entire urethral diverticulum wall, watertight closure of the urethra, multi-layered and non-overlapping closure of surrounding tissue with absorbable suture, and preservation or creation of continence. Results of surgical repair are usually excellent, although long-term recurrence of these lesions may occur. Complications of urethral diverticulectomy include urethrovaginal fistula, UI, and rarely urethral stricture. Conclusion : Whilst urethral diverticulectomy excision and reconstruction is a challenging procedure, it is ultimately satisfying for the patient and the surgeon when relief of bothersome symptoms is achieved. Adherence to principles of reconstructive surgery is important to ensure a satisfactory result. Abbreviations: PRISMA: Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses; UD: urethral diverticulum/diverticula; UI: urinary incontinence; US: ultrasonography; VCUG: voiding cystourethrogram.

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