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Urol Int. 2017;99(4):453-459. doi: 10.1159/000478026. Epub 2017 Jul 12.

Evaluation of the Efficacy and Safety of Laser versus Cold Knife Urethrotomy in the Management of Patients with Urethral Strictures: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials.

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Department of Urology, Hospital Universitario San Ignacio and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana School of Medicine, Bogotá D.C., Colombia.



Urethral strictures generate great morbidity. Two procedures have been described for their management - laser and cold knife techniques - which are still widely used. We aim to assess the safety and efficacy of laser versus cold knife urethrotomy.


We conducted a systematic search of the literature using MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS and Cochrane databases and gray literature. Primary outcomes were urethral stricture recurrence, time-to-recurrence and complication rate. Secondary outcomes were quality of life and maximum urinary flow rate (Qmax). Data analysis was obtained using Review Manager 5.2.


Out of 137 publications, 4 articles were included in the meta-analysis. At 3 months, the recurrence rate was similar in both groups (0.55, 95% CI 0.18-1.66), but at 6 and 12 months, it was significantly lower in the laser urethrotomy group (0.39, 95% CI 0.19-0.81 and 0.44, 95% CI 0.26-0.75). The analysis of Qmax at 6 months post-intervention suggested a greater improvement in the laser urethrotomy group. A qualitative analysis showed that complications in both procedures were minor and infrequent.


Laser urethrotomy has a lower recurrence rate at 6 and 12 months compared to cold knife urethrotomy. Complications in both procedures are minor and infrequent. Results should be interpreted cautiously, since they were evaluated only for a short term.


Cold knife; Efficacy; Laser; Recurrence rate; Safety; Urethra; Urethral reconstruction; Urethral stenosis; Urethral stricture; Urethrotomy

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