Conditions We Treat: Urethral Obstruction

Conditions that cause significant damage to the urethra may lead to urinary strictures or obstructions. As a result, a person may experience a variety of symptoms, including weak stream, urgency to urinate, leakage of urine, retention of urine and painful urination. In severe cases, rectourethral fistulas can develop due to trauma, surgery or radiation. 

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Urethral Obstruction: Why Choose Johns Hopkins 

  • Johns Hopkins is the torchbearer for urological care, including treatment for injuries to the urethra. We are at the forefront of compassionate, innovative and evidence-based care. 
  • Our surgeons have extensive experience with different surgical approaches to treating urethral stricture disease and other types of urethral obstruction. 
  • As physician researchers, we are interested in studying ways to prevent urethral obstruction and improve diagnosis and treatment. Experts on our team are studying the underlying causes of urethral obstruction, which include a skin condition called lichen sclerosus, trauma, prior hypospadias surgery and infection. 

Improving Your Urinary Quality of Life Webinar

Urinary stricture disease is a benign urologic condition that results in the blockage of urinary flow. In some cases, urinary stricture disease can cause infection, stones or even kidney disease. This condition is commonly caused by trauma, infection or radiation of the genitals and can affect men and women of all ages. Learn about solutions for this very common issue in this webinar with Johns Hopkins reconstructive urologic surgeon, Andrew Cohen, M.D.

Trouble Urinating? What Causes Urinary Issues in Men

There are many common causes for urinary issues in men. This video outlines conditions that cause urinary issues including PBH and urethral stricture disease.

Urethral Obstruction Experts

Our surgeons have extensive experience with complex reconstructive urology, and can recommend the best approach for you and your situation.


Treatment for Urethral Obstruction 

Treatment for urethral obstruction (including urethral stricture) depends on factors such as the severity of the problem and your underlying health. Specialized diagnostic testing in our clinic will likely be necessary to gather the crucial information needed to help you and your doctor decide on treatment. 

The most common surgical procedures for urethral obstruction are: 

  • Urethroplasty – Open reconstructive surgery to repair urethral stricture, during which we sometimes use novel tissues (such as tissue from the inside of the mouth) to reconstruct the urethra.  
  • Meatoplasty – A simple procedure to increase the size of the urinary meatus, which is the opening of the urethra at the end of the penis. 
  • Perineal urethrostomy – This surgery creates a permanent opening to the urethra from the perineum (the area between the scrotum and anus) for urine to flow. This treatment is used for men with complex strictures who are willing to sit to urinate and want to avoid a more complex reconstruction. 
  • Urethral ligation – For severe cases of urethral stricture, we sometimes permanently close the urethra and provide an alternate means for urinary drainage.