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BACKGROUND: Urethral stricture affects 0.9% of men. Initial treatment is urethrotomy. Approximately, half of the strictures recur within 4 yr. Options for further treatment are repeat urethrotomy or open urethroplasty. OBJECTIVE: To compare the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of urethrotomy with open urethroplasty in adult men with recurrent bulbar urethral stricture. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: This was an open label, two-arm, patient-randomised controlled trial. UK National Health Service hospitals were recruited and 222 men were randomised to receive urethroplasty or urethrotomy. INTERVENTION: Urethrotomy is a minimally invasive technique whereby the narrowed area is progressively widened by cutting the scar tissue with a steel blade mounted on a urethroscope. Urethroplasty is a more invasive surgery to reconstruct the narrowed area. OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS: The primary outcome was the profile over 24 mo of a patient-reported outcome measure, the voiding symptom score. The main clinical outcome was time until reintervention. RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: The primary analysis included 69 (63%) and 90 (81%) of those allocated to urethroplasty and urethrotomy, respectively. The mean difference between the urethroplasty and urethrotomy groups was -0.36 (95% confidence interval [CI] -1.74 to 1.02). Fifteen men allocated to urethroplasty needed a reintervention compared with 29 allocated to urethrotomy (hazard ratio [95% CI] 0.52 [0.31-0.89]). CONCLUSIONS: In men with recurrent bulbar urethral stricture, both urethroplasty and urethrotomy improved voiding symptoms. The benefit lasted longer for urethroplasty. PATIENT SUMMARY: There was uncertainty about the best treatment for men with recurrent bulbar urethral stricture. We randomised men to receive one of the following two treatment options: urethrotomy and urethroplasty. At the end of the study, both treatments resulted in similar and better symptom scores. However, the urethroplasty group had fewer reinterventions.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur urol

Publication Date



Randomised controlled trial, Surgery, Urethral stricture, Urethroplasty, Urethrotomy, Voiding symptoms