How is urethral stricture diagnosed?

The rate at which your urine flows will be measured by urinating into a collection device. The post-void residual (the amount of urine left in the bladder when you are done urinating) can also be measured by doing a scan of the bladder. Normally, the bladder is empty after urinating, but with a stricture, some urine may stay in the bladder.

If a urethral stricture is found, you will probably need an imaging procedure. One such procedure is a retrograde urethrogram. This is an X-ray procedure that uses a contrast agent that is instilled through the opening of the penis. The contrast shows up on an X-ray film to locate the stricture and its length. Once the bladder is full, you will be asked to urinate so that the stricture could be recognized during the voiding process.

Cystoscopy is a procedure in which a thin, lighted tube called a cystoscope is inserted into the penis. This procedure allows your doctor to see inside the urethra. It is done in the doctor’s office, usually without anesthesia, and it typically takes 5 to 10 minutes. Before the procedure, lidocaine jelly (a numbing medication) will be instilled into your urethra, allowing the doctor to pass the cystoscope with less discomfort into your bladder.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/23/2014.

References

  • Wong SS, Aboumarzouk OM, Narahari R, O’Riordan A, Pickard R. Simple urethral dilatation, endoscopic urethrotomy, and urethroplasty for urethral stricture disease in adult men. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012; Dec 12;12:CD006934. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006934.pub3.
  • Luman N, Oosterlimck W, Hoebeke P. Urethral reconstruction using buccal mucosa or penile skin grafts: systematic review and meta-analysis. Urol Int 2012;89:387-394.
  • Mundy AR. Management of urethral strictures. Postgrad Med 2006;82:489-493.

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