Ventral oral mucosal onlay graft urethroplasty

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The surgical technique of “Urethroplasty with skin or oral mucosal graft” is made by opening the urethra at the level of the stricture site and widening the urethral lumen by applying an oral graft.

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There are four basic types of Urethroplasty with skin or oral mucosal graft:

  • Urethroplasty with ventral oral mucosal graft. Using this technique, the oral graft is sutured on the ventral site of the urethra (figures 1,2).
  • Urethroplasty with dorsal skin or oral mucosal graft. Using this technique, the oral graft is sutured on the dorsal site of the urethra (figures 3,4).
  • Urethroplasty with lateral oral mucosal graft. Using this technique, the oral graft is sutured on the lateral site of the urethra.
  • Urethroplasty with complete substitution by oral mucosal graft. Using this technique, the urethral mucosa is completely replaced by an oral graft.


The surgical technique of Urethroplasty with skin or oral mucosal graft is generally suggested in the patients with no traumatic bulbar urethral strictures, more than 2 cm in length.

Article n° 1

Barbagli G, Palminteri E, Guazzoni G, Montorsi F, Turini D, Lazzeri M.
Bulbar urethroplasty using buccal mucosa grafts placed on the ventral, dorsal or lateral surface of the urethra: are results affected by the surgical technique?
J Urol. 2005 Sep;174(3):955-7

Purpose: The use of buccal mucosa graft onlay urethroplasty represents the most widespread method of bulbar urethral stricture repair. The graft may be placed on the ventral or dorsal urethral surface according to surgeon experience and preference. We investigated whether the results are affected by the surgical technique by comparing the outcome of 3 types of bulbar urethroplasty using buccal mucosa graft.
Material and Methods: We repaired 50 bulbar urethral strictures with buccal mucosa grafts from 1997 to 2002. Mean patient age was 42 years. The etiology of stricture was ischemia in 12 cases, trauma in 6, instrumentation in 4 and unknown in 28. Patients with lichen sclerosus, failed hypospadias or urethroplasty and stricture extending into the penile urethra were not included. A total of 47 patients (94%) had undergone previous urethrotomy or dilation. The buccal mucosa graft was always harvested from the cheek using a 2 team approach. Mean graft length was 4.2 cm. The graft was placed on the ventral, dorsal and lateral bulbar urethral surface in 17, 27 and 6 cases, respectively. Clinical outcome was considered a success or failure at the time that any postoperative procedure was needed, including dilation. Mean followup was 42 months (range 12 to 76).
Results: Of 50 cases 42 (84%) were successful and 8 (16%) failed. The 17 ventral grafts provided success in 14 cases (83%) and failure in 3 (17%). The 27 dorsal grafts provided success in 23 cases (85%) and failure in 4 (15%). The 6 lateral grafts provided success in 5 cases (83%) and failure in 1 (17%). No surgical complications were observed. Failures involved the anastomotic site (distal in 2 and proximal in 3) and the whole grafted area in 3 cases. They were treated with urethrotomy in 5 cases and 2-stage urethroplasty in 3.
Conclusions: In our experience the placement of buccal mucosa grafts into the ventral, dorsal or lateral surface of the bulbar urethra showed the same success rates (83% to 85%) and the outcome was not affected by the surgical technique. Moreover, stricture recurrence was uniformly distributed in all patients.

Article n° 2
Barbagli G., Guazzoni G., Lazzeri M.
One-Stage bulbar urethroplasty: Retrospective analisys of the results in 375 patients
Eur Urol 2008; 53:828-33

Objective: To review the outcome of bulbar urethroplasty using one-stage surgical techniques.
Methods: Of 375 patients, who underwent one-stage bulbar urethroplasties, 165 patients (44%) underwent anastomotic repair (AR), 40 (10.7%) underwent augmented anastomotic repair (AAR) using penile skin grafts (PSGs) or oral mucosal grafts (OMGs), and 170 (45.3%) underwent onlay grafting techniques (OGTs) using PSGs or OMGs. Clinical outcome was considered a failure when any postoperative instrumentation was needed. The chi(2) and Fisher’s exact test for categorical data were used. The sample size of 375 patients provides a statistical power (1-beta) of 99% at alpha=0.05; p<0.05 was set as significant.
Results: The average follow-up was 53 mo. Of 375 cases, 313 (83.5%) were successful and 62 (16.5%) failures. Of 165 ARs, 150 (90.9%) were successful and 15 (9.1%) failures. Of 40 AARs, 24 (60%) were successful and 16 (40%) failures. Of 170 OGTs, 139 (81.8%) were successful and 31 (18.2%) failures. The AR showed statistically significant higher success rate compared to OGT (p=0.023) and AAR (p=0.0001). Of 47 PSGs, 28 (59.6%) were successful and 19 (40.4%) failures. Of 163 OMGs, 135 (82.8%) were successful and 28 (17.2%) failures. This difference was statistically significant (p=0.002).
Conclusions: One-stage bulbar urethroplasties showed an overall 83.5% success rate. The AR showed the higher success rate compared to the OGT or AAR. OMGs (82.8% success rate) perform statistically better than PSGs (59.6% success rate).

Article n° 3
Guido Barbagli , Salvatore Sansalone , Giuseppe Romano and Massimo Lazzeri
Ventral onlay oral mucosal graft bulbar urethroplasty
BJU Int 2011; 108: 1218-1231

The current surgical approach to the uncomplicated bulbar urethral stricture began in 1993 when El-Kasaby et al . described the repair of anterior urethral strictures using an oral mucosa graft, including eight patients who underwent bulbar urethroplasty. In 1996, Morey and McAninch first described ventral onlay oral mucosa urethroplasty, suggesting suturing of the oral graft in the ventral surface of the urethra. In 1996, Barbagli et al . described the dorsal free-graft urethroplasty, suggesting suturing the graft in the dorsal surface of the urethra, over the albuginea of the underlying corpora cavernosa. The location of the graft on the ventral or dorsal urethral surface has become a contentious issue, dating from the time these two techniques were described. Success with bulbar oral mucosal grafts has been high with dorsal or ventral graft location and the different graft positions have shown no differences in success rates. Recently, we developed a new muscle and nerve-sparing bulbar urethroplasty, avoiding fully opening the bulbo-spongiosum muscle, thus better preserving ejaculatory function. The selection of a surgical technique for bulbar urethra reconstruction, in addition to respecting the status of the genitalia tissue and components, must also be based on the proper anatomical characteristics of the bulbar urethra, to ensure graft take and survival. Further, sexual function can be placed at risk by any surgery on the genitalia, and dissection must avoid interference with the neurovascular supply to the penis and genitalia. Bulbar urethroplasty using grafts should not compromise penile length or cause penile chordee, and certainly should not untowardly affect penile and genitalia appearance.
1. Question: What kind of anesthesia is used for this surgery?
Answer: General anesthesia with nasal intubation.

2. Question: How many hours does the surgery take?
Answer: About 2 hours.

3. Question: Are there any risks concerning erection, fertility and urinary incontinence after the surgery?
Answer: No, there aren’t.

4. Question: How many days of hospital recovery are expected following the surgery?
Answer: In general, from 5 to 7 days.

5. Question: How long will I have to use a catheter after the surgery?
Answer: The urethral catheter must stay in place for four weeks after the surgery, when the first post-operative voiding urethrography is done.

6. Question: Are there any particular recommendations during convalescence?
Answer: During convalescence, the use antibiotics until the catheter is removed is suggested. Avoiding long car trips, as well as heavy labor and sexual and sports activities are also suggested.

7. Question: When will I be able to resume my working, sexual and sports activities?
Answer: All these activities can be gradually resumed about 30 days after the removal of the catheter.

8. Question: Can I ride a bike or a motorcycle immediately after the surgery?
Answer: It is not recommended to ride bikes, motorcycles or horses after the surgery.

9. Question: What kinds of foods and drinks should be avoided after the surgery?
Answer: Beer and sparkling wines should be avoided, as well as large quantities of chocolate, cocoa, nuts and shellfish.