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Urethra Widening

Urethral dilation is often a treatment used to help with urethral stricture. It’s a minimally invasive procedure that essentially stretches or elongates the urethra.

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Everything you need to know

Common reasons why someone might need urethra widening include:

  • Urethral stenosis – when the tube that carries urine becomes narrow, this can impact the way a person will pass urine. This can result from inflammation, injury, infection, or other factors.
  • Urethral stricture – similar to a urethral stenosis, but the main difference is that this condition is specifically caused by the formation of scar tissue.
  • Post-surgical scar tissue
  • Radiation therapy
  • Congenital abnormalities

Before surgery

You’ll first need to book an appointment with one of our consultant urologists. During this appointment, the doctor will run a physical exam and further tests, such as a cystoscopy.

The decision to undergo urethral dilation is based on a thorough evaluation of your medical history, symptoms, and the underlying cause of the urethral narrowing.

During surgery

Whichever approach your urologist decides to go with, you’ll first receive general anaesthetic.

The procedure can be done using different techniques, including the use of dilators or inflatable balloons. In some cases, a surgical procedure known as a urethrotomy may be performed, which involves making a small incision to widen the urethra.

For men, these procedures are usually carried out through the tip of the penis – whereas women will have their surgical procedure completed through the female urethra.

It’s important to note that while these procedures can provide relief, they may not always be curative, and strictures can sometimes recur, necessitating additional interventions.

After surgery

After the procedure is complete, you will be taken to a recovery room and monitored to ensure stability. In some cases, a urinary catheter may be placed to allow for drainage of urine and to keep the urethra open during the initial healing period.

Depending on the technique used, the length of the hospital stay may vary. Urethral dilation is often performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that you’ll typically go home on the same day. If you had a urethrotomy, you might need to stay in the hospital overnight.

Before you leave the hospital, you’ll receive specific post-operative instructions, including information on any restrictions and medications. It’s important you follow those closely to ensure a smooth recovery.

How to pay for your treatment

If you’re… paying for yourself

Did you know you don’t need private medical insurance to come to St John & St Elizabeth Hospital? As a self-pay patient, you can access safe, outstanding quality health care at times to suit you.

For scans and tests, as well as to see most consultants, you’ll still need to be referred by a medical professional like your GP, but as a self-pay patient, the process is more straightforward. You won’t need authorisation from an insurance provider, and you’ll have greater choice of consultant and appointment times.

If you’re… insured

St John & St Elizabeth Hospital is approved by all major medical insurance companies. If you have a personal private health insurance policy, or your company provide it for you, you can use it to pay for your care from your initial consultation through to treatment, surgery and aftercare such as physiotherapy. Not all private health insurance plans cover the same things. It’s very important to check exactly what you are covered for with your insurance provider.