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J Urol. 1999 May;161(5):1433-41.

Pelvic fracture urethral injuries: the unresolved controversy.

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  • 1Department of Urology, College of Medicine, University of Alexandria, Egypt.



The unresolved controversies about pelvic fracture urethral injuries and whether any conclusions can be reached to develop a treatment plan for this lesion are determined.


All data on pelvic fracture urethral injuries in the English literature for the last 50 years were critically analyzed. Studies were eligible only if data were complete and conclusive.


The risk of urethral injury is influenced by the number of broken pubic rami as well as involvement of the sacroiliac joint. Depending on the magnitude of trauma, the membranous urethra is first stretched and then partially or completely ruptured at the bulbomembranous junction. Injuries to the prostatic urethra and bladder neck occur only in children. Injury to the female urethra usually is a partial tear of the anterior wall and rarely complete disruption of the proximal or distal urethra. Diagnosis depends on urethrography in men and on a high index of suspicion and urethroscopy in women. Of the 3 conventional treatment methods primary suturing of the disrupted urethral ends has the greatest complication rates of incontinence and impotence (21 and 56%, respectively). Primary realignment has double the incidence of impotence and half that of stricture compared to suprapubic cystostomy and delayed repair (36 versus 19 and 53 versus 97%, respectively, p <0.0001).


In men surgical and endoscopic procedures do not compete but rather complement each other for treatment of different injuries under different circumstances, including indwelling catheter for urethral stretch injury, endoscopic stenting or suprapubic cystostomy for partial rupture, endoscopic realignment or suprapubic cystostomy for complete rupture with a minimal distraction defect and surgical realignment if the distraction defect is wide. Associated injury to the bladder, bladder neck or rectum dictates immediate exploration for repair but does not necessarily indicate exploration of the urethral injury site. In women treatment modalities are dictated by the level of urethral injury, including immediate retropubic realignment or suturing for proximal and transvaginal urethral advancement for distal injury.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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