Urethral Stricture Disease

A urethral stricture is a narrowing or scar in the urethra (or urine drainage tube in the penis). This condition can lead to weak stream, pain with urination, difficulty with bladder emptying, and increase the risk of:

  • Bladder / kidney damage
  • Bladder stones
  • Urinary tract infections

Urethral strictures occur for a variety of reasons including trauma, infection, and inflammation. Often this condition occurs for unknown reasons.

Surgical treatment of urethral stricture

We offer the following treatments for urethral stricture:

Direct vision internal urethrotomy or urethral dilation

The direct vision internal urethrotomy or urethral dilation treatment is a less invasive procedure that we perform by cutting or dilating the stricture with a cystoscope. We may perform this procedure for short strictures.

This treatment is a same-day procedure. You will go home with a urethral catheter in place for a couple of days as you recover.

The advantage of the procedure is that it is less invasive.

The disadvantage are potential urethral and the high risk of recurrence (up to 60%). You may need to return for a more complex stricture.

Urinary diversion

The urinary diversion treatment is a diversion of the urinary stream. We create a new channel from your abdominal wall to your bladder, which is either catheterized or drains into a bag.

We reserve this treatment for patients for which all other interventions have failed.


Urethroplasty is a surgical procedure to reconstruct the urethra.

This procedure has the highest success rate of greater than 85-90%. Often, we need to use a graft to repair the urethra from the inside of your cheek. You may need a temporary catheter for a few weeks after the procedure.

The advantages of the procedure are that it has the highest success rate.

The disadvantage is that it is more invasive and there are surgical risks. We can discuss those risks with you.

What should I expect at my consultation visit to discuss my urethral stricture?

We will review your symptoms, medical and surgical history, as well as perform a physical exam.

Depending on your symptoms and your prior workup, you may discuss having more diagnostic procedures, including:

  • Bladder function studies
  • Cystoscopy (placing a small scope in the urethra)
  • Retrograde urethrogram (using dye to take better pictures of the urethra to check the length and location of the stricture)

We will then discuss what treatment options best align with your goals.

Learn more

Page reviewed on: Jan 30, 2020

Page reviewed by: Rachel A. Moses, MD, MPH