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What is an urethrotomy?

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An urethrotomy is a procedure used to correct narrowing of the urethra caused by scarring, according to Nick Brook Urology. A surgeon uses a cystoscope to see into the urethra and identify the scarring within. The surgeon then uses an endoscopic knife to make at least one cut down the length of the scar inside of the urethra. Doctors may call an urethrotomy an optical urethrotomy, direct vision internal urethrotomy, or visual urethrotomy, notes The Center for Reconstructive Urology.

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During surgery, the surgeon places a catheter into the urethra to keep the area open while it heals for three to five days, explains The Center for Reconstructive Urology. Ideally, the slitsthat are cut into the scar tissue around the urethra heal in an open position. An urethrotomy does not remove scar tissue, because the scar tissue is actually the lining of the urethra that narrows due to scarring. The scar tissue does not build up and obstruct the inside of the urethra; it is the urethra itself that is the problem.

Sometimes the urethrotomy causes addition scarring, which leads to further narrowing of the urethra, states The Center for Reconstructive Urology. This condition may trigger the need for additional urethrotomies, and the surgeon may place a urethral stent to prevent urethral narrowing due to scar tissue.

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