Urinary Strictures and Obstructions

If you’ve been living with the challenges of a urinary stricture or obstruction and have been told you’re out of treatment options, we can help. The reconstructive urology team at Henry Ford Health offers the most advanced robotic surgeries for complex urogenital conditions.

Urethral reconstruction: Why choose Henry Ford?

Our reconstructive urology program blends surgical expertise with a commitment to personalized patient care. At Henry Ford, you’ll find:

  • Leading-edge technology: Henry Ford has been a pioneer in the field of urologic robotic surgery for decades. We continue to innovate by using the most sophisticated robotic technology available, including the da Vinci Single-Port® system. Many highly complex procedures now require only a single small incision.
  • Experienced team: We’re home to some of the most skilled urologic surgeons in the nation. They’ve received extensive fellowship training in the latest techniques for urinary and genital reconstruction, so you have access to treatments that aren’t widely available.
  • Newest treatments: We’re one of only a few hospitals in the nation to offer robotic urethral reconstruction using buccal mucosa grafts. This procedure uses skin from inside your cheek to repair and rebuild the urethra. People with long or complex urethral strictures that haven’t improved with other treatments now have an option for relief.

Treatment for urethral strictures

Urethral strictures (narrowing due to scar tissue) may be the result of cancer treatment, surgery, trauma or infections. Strictures can cause difficulty urinating, frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and other symptoms.

Traditional treatments for urethral strictures usually involve:

  • Dilation to widen the urethra
  • Catheterization to drain urine from the bladder
  • Standard urethroplasty to cut out scar tissue

However, these treatments are typically only effective for short areas of scar tissue. In many cases, the strictures return or the treatments cause other problems such as erectile dysfunction or shortening of the penis.

At Henry Ford, we offer an alternative to traditional urethral stricture treatment. Minimally invasive techniques using robotic technology allow us to repair long or complex areas of scar tissue with less risk of complications.

Buccal mucosa graft urethroplasty

We are the only health system in Michigan, and one of only a few in the nation, to offer buccal mucosa graft urethroplasty for urethral strictures.

During this procedure, your surgeon makes a single small incision in your perineum (area between the scrotum or opening of the vagina and the anus). They locate the scar tissue in your urethra and carefully remove it without cutting the urethra.

In some cases, especially if you have a long section of scar tissue, we may use a buccal mucosa skin graft (skin taken from inside your cheeks or lips). We use the graft to rebuild your urethra, which preserves its length and function.

We may use a combination of robotic and traditional techniques to perform this procedure, depending on the location of the scar tissue. Many patients return home the same day as their procedure.

This innovative approach to urethroplasty greatly reduces your risk of:

  • Changes to your penis, such as shortening or curvature
  • Persistent urinary problems
  • Recurring strictures
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Urethrocutaneous fistula (opening in groin where urine may leak out)

Treatment for ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction

A ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction is a blockage between your kidneys and ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder). It might be congenital (present at birth) or it can develop due to scar tissue, cancer treatment or kidney stones.

The traditional treatment for a UPJ obstruction is an open pyeloplasty. This invasive procedure requires a large incision, cutting of the damaged ureter and an extended hospital stay. There’s also potential for long-term complications after this procedure, such as recurrent strictures, infection, hernia and aesthetic concerns.

At Henry Ford, we offer robotic pyeloplasty for ureteral obstructions. This minimally invasive approach allows us to operate deep in the pelvis without the need for a large incision. You can recover faster with less risk of complications.

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