History and evolution of the use of oral mucosa for urethral reconstruction

Asian Journal of Urology 2017; 4: 98-101.

Abstract: We report here the history and evolution of the use of oral mucosa in reconstructive urethral surgery since it was first used for urethroplasty in 1894. Since that time, many authors have contributed to develop, improve and popularize the use of oral mucosa as a substitute material. Paediatric urologists should be considered pioneers on the use of oral mucosa as they used it to repair primary and failed hypospadias. The use of oral mucosa to repair penile and bulbar urethral strictures was described, for the first time, in 1993. Important evolutions in the technique for harvesting oral mucosa from the cheek were reported in 1996. Today, oral mucosa is considered the gold standard material for any type of anterior urethroplasty in a one- or two-stage repair due to its biological and structural characteristics that make it a highly versatile that is adaptable to any environment required by the reconstructive urethral surgery. As the future approaches, tissue engineering techniques will provide patients with new materials originating from the oral epithelial mucosal cells, which are cultured and expanded into a scaffold. However, the path to reach this ambitious objective is still long and many difficulties must be overcome along the way.