Category: Prostate cancer

Tests needed before urethroplasty

Uroflowmetry: Testing the urine flow rate

This is the first step.  “The normal urinary flow rate in young and middle aged men is generally greater than 15?ml/second and the flow pattern a bell shaped curve. ” “In those who have a urethral stricture the peak flow rate is typically low but the flow pattern is characteristically flat” [Source]

“With a flow rate of less than 5?ml/second, abnormalities such as those listed above are much more likely and the patient is potentially at risk of acute retention, although this is a lot less common than one would expect from the severity of the narrowing of the urethra that is seen in such a situation. In these patients treatment is advisable even if symptoms of voiding difficulty are not troublesome.” [Source] (Sanjeev: I’m having pain while voiding)

Urethrogram

Both “RUG/VCUG is costly and some-times logistically difficult to perform, and exposes men to radiation” [Source] These tests “show the exact site and length of the stricture and most of its potential complications” [Source]

Retrograde urethrogram (RUG)

See Wikipedia entry.

The penis is postioned at approximately the 10 o’clock position. The round opaque structure in the distal penis is the inflated Foley balloon. The Foley catheter tip is faintly radiopaque, but can be better seen as a filling defect after administration of contrast.  [Source]

Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)

See Wikipedia entry.

The voiding urethrogram evaluates the posterior urethra. The Foley balloon is advanced into the bladder and contrast is instilled until the bladder is dilated. The bladder should be so dilated, that the patient “feels like he absolutely needs to pull off to the side of the road so he can urinate”. The Foley is then removed and the patient is encourage to urinate. Images are obtained of the open posterior urethra. As this is not a dedicated cystogram, imaging the bladder is a secondary concern. [Source]

AUGMENTED URETHROPLASTY

“If the stricture is long and/or located in the penis, the stricture may be open or removed and the area is more commonly patched or less commonly replaced with a tube, made from surrounding tissues, such as nearby skin or from tissue removed from other areas in the body such as from the inside of the cheek (buccal mucosa). ” [Source]

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Dealing with sub-meatal urethral stricture: meatoplasty and dilation (related: fossa navicularis strictures)

Note: my surgery was for Rigid Cystoscopy and Optical Urethrotomy (direct visual internal urethrotomy – DVIU).

EVEN IF MY SURGEON HAD DONE A DVIU DURING RADICAL PROSTATECTOMY, THIS ISSUE WOULD HAVE REMAINED A LIFELONG ISSUE

When urethral strictures are identified at the time of catheter placement for another surgical procedure, assessment of the need for catheterization should be made. [Source: Male Urethral Stricture: American Urological Association Guideline] 

Urethral strictures may be dilated in this setting [when a stricture is suspected during surgery]to allow catheter insertion, and dilation over a guidewire is recommended to prevent false passage formation or rectal injury. Alternatively, DVIU may be performed, particularly if the stricture is too dense to be adequately dilated. SP cystotomy may also be performed to provide urinary drainage at the time of surgery if these initial maneuvers are unsuccessful, or when subsequent definitive treatment for urethral stricture is planned in the near future. [Source: Male Urethral Stricture: American Urological Association Guideline]

[Sanjeev: My surgeon felt something blocking the catheter during the prep for the prostatectomy. He did not do dilation or DVIU at that stage but moved on with the prostatectomy. I understand that using a large cathether is essential for such a surgery. In my case the goal of fixing the bigger issue – cancer – led to a secondary injury that is going to remain with me lifelong. EVEN IF HE HAD CONDUCTED A DVIU AT THAT STAGE, THE SITUATION I NOW HAVE WOULD HAVE BEEN UNCHANGED. Therefore, there was NO WAY to avoid what I’ve now got.]

URETHROTOMY IS GUARANTEED TO FAIL

After 1 urethrotomy Pansadoro and Emiliozzi found a 5-year stricture-free survival rate of 6%, which closely matched our 5-year stricture-free survival rate of 7%. Treatment eventually failed in all 7% of the patients by 79 months. [Source] – i.e. 100 PER CENT RECURRENCE WITHIN FIVE YEARS, WITH MOST RECURRING WITHIN 3-6 MONTHS.

The stricture-free rate after the first urethrotomy was 8% with a median time to recurrence of 7 months. For the second urethrotomy stricture-free rate was 6% with a median time to recurrence of 9 months. For the third urethrotomy stricture-free rate was 9% with a median time to recurrence of 3 months. For procedures 4 and 5 stricture-free rate was 0% with a median time to recurrence of 20 and 8 months, respectively. [Source]

RECOMMENDATION: NO MORE THAN ONE URETHROTOMY

“During the last 30 years urethroplasty has improved in efficacy and safety, while urethrotomy is increasingly considered neither cost-efficient nor effective in the long term. Urethroplasty is reported to have lifetime success rates ranging from 75% to 100%. Repeat and unsuccessful urethrotomies impose costs to the patients in the form of lost wages, unnecessary health care expenditures, decreased quality of life and unnecessary anesthesia. The fact that urethrotomy has a low success rate is a strong argument for opting for the more effective urethroplasty instead of a less effective urethrotomy.” [Source]

NOTE: THIS ISSUE IS NOT STENOSIS!

It is hard to get information on this issue from the internet. First thing to note is that it is quite different to meatal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the opening (this is how it looks). “Meatal stenosis is a common complication of circumcision.” Curing stenosis is relatively easy and is done through a surgical procedure called meatotomy during which the meatus is crushed with a straight mosquito hemostat and then divided with fine-tipped scissors. (here is a video of how it is done]

WHAT A MEATAL (or fossa navicularis) STRICTURE LOOKS LIKE?

What it looks like – picture.

Causes

It appears this issue was very common with prostatectomies in the past (Some Common Complications After Prostatectomy, J. Cosbie Ross and L. F. Tinckler, The British Medical Journal, Vol. 2, No. 5153 (Oct. 10, 1959). The issue still occurs in around 2 per cent of the patients.

Male Urethral Stricture: American Urological Association Guideline (2017)

Male Urethral Stricture: American Urological Association Guideline (full guideline needs online journal access) says that uncomplicated urethral stricture confined to the meatus or fossa navicularis should be treated with simple dilation or meatotomy, with or without guidewire placement.

However, urethroplasty is needed for to patients with recurrent meatal or fossa navi­cularis strictures. Meatal and fossa navicularis strictures refractory (i.e. stubborn to) to endoscopic procedures are unlikely to respond to further endoscopic treatments (e.g. Urethrotomy).

Patients who opt for repeat endoscopic treatments or intermittent self-dilation in lieu of more definitive treatment, such as ure­throplasty should be advised that success of a sub­sequent reconstructive procedure may be lower when following a plan of repeated endoscopic surgery and/ or intermittent self-dilation. Similar to other types of stricture, exact delineation of length and etiology is important for guiding treatment.

Dilation is a bad idea. In my case, when the stricture recurs, I should undergo urethroplasty (or whatever the term is called).

TREATMENT OPTION 1: DILATION [not recommended]

Pictures of Dilation of the Urethral Meatal Stricture

INTERMITTENT SELF MEATAL DILATATION – AN INFORMATION LEAFLET, January 2017

What are the Treatments for Meatal Stricture / Meatal Stenosis? [Sanjeev: these are quite different things]

  • Intermittent self meatal dilatation – In some men it is possible that the narrowing of your urethra may re-occur. To reduce this risk you may be taught how to perform intermittent self meatal dilatation. [Sanjeev: it appears it will recur in almost all cases, and instead, aggravate things.]

What is Meatal Dilatation? Meatal Dilatation is a procedure which involves you passing a short catheter into the end of your urethra. The catheter is passed beyond the narrow section and this helps to keep the urethra open.

What Are The Alternatives?

  • Meatal dilatation – If your urethra is not too narrow, it can be dilated or stretched in theatre under local anaesthetic or a general anaesthetic (when you are put completely to sleep) using catheters (soft, hollow plastic tubes) which are graduated in size.
  • Meatotomy – A small operation to stretch or cut through the narrow tissue in your urethra may be necessary. This is called a ‘meatotomy’. Occasionally an additional procedure called circumcision (removal of the foreskin) may be necessary if repeated infections and inflammation (balanitis) at the tip of the penis has resulted in a tight foreskin. [Sanjeev: this is – as described – ONLY meant for a stenosis; not applicable in my case]

What are the risks of Meatal Dilatation?

  • Pain. At first it may be a little painful or uncomfortable to pass the catheter, especially if you have had recent surgery. This, however, should improve with time and most men are able to tolerate the procedure with little discomfort.
  • Bleeding. You may see a little blood on the end of the catheter after performing the procedure or experience a little bleeding from the urethra. This is nothing to worry about and should soon stop. If the bleeding becomes heavy and prolonged then contact your healthcare professional. [Sanjeev: actually bleeding is a BAD thing during dilation, as it will simply aggravate scarring]
  • Infection. It is important to wash your hands and penis before performing meatal dilatation so that no bugs are passed up into the bladder. However, if you experience pain or burning when passing urine, notice that your urine is cloudy or smelly or, especially, if you start to feel unwell (i.e. high temperature, abdominal pain or flu like symptoms), contact your GP or healthcare professional immediately as you may have a urine infection.
  • Recurrent Stricture If you notice a reduction in your flow of urine or if it becomes difficult to pass the catheter into the urethra, it may be because the narrowing has re-occurred. If this happens seek advice from you healthcare professional. [Sanjeev: This is STUPID. The advice should be provided upfront, including discussion of all risks]

General Advice

  • For how long and how often should I perform Meatal Dilatation? As everyone is different, a personalised regime will be agreed between yourself and your healthcare professional as to how often and for how long you should perform the procedure.

Dilatation catheters
These are usually sterile hydrophilic coated single use catheters with NO drainage eyes. They are used for keeping the urethra patent in patients with strictures or who have had surgery to the urethra. Dilatation catheters will not drain the bladder. Shorter length meatal dilators are available for men who need only to dilate the meatus to avoid meatal stenosis, or to dilate a sub-meatal stricture. If the stricture is higher in the urethra then a full length dilatation catheter (40cm) will be needed. [Source: Trust Guideline for the Management of Teaching Clean Intermittent Self-catheterisation (CISC)]

DILATION IS NOT A GREAT IDEA

Treatment approach to pre-TURP urethral strictures:

– Meatal/sub-meatal stricuture: Do a formal meatotomy instead of excess dilation

Source: Common Urologic Problems: Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia By Sujata Patwardhan

NOT RECOMMENDED

“For urethral strictures in the penile urethra to the bulbar urethra, dilation is not recommended.” [Source]

CAN DILATION WORK IN SOME CASES? – UNLIKELY

It is said in the Male Urethral Stricture: American Urological Association Guideline that stricture recurrence is significantly lower among patients performing self-catheterization. Data suggests that performing self-catheterization for greater than four months after DVIU reduced recurrence rates compared to performing self-catheterization for less than three months. [Sanjeev: I find this hard to believe – given the study which showed that RECURRENCE IS GUARANTEED WITH DVIU – see this study].

TREATMENT OPTION 2: MEATOPLASTY/ URETHROPLASTY – fixes 90 per cent of the time

URETHROPLASTY CAN FAIL IF YOUR SURGEON IS NOT EXTRAORDINARLY COMPETENT

” the success of open urethroplasty is very dependent on the surgical technique and the expertise of the surgeon. When urethral surgery is not properly performed, early recurrence of the stricture is a very common complication. … Although stricture recurrence is always a possibility, even when the surgery is performed by a qualified experienced specialist, recurrences more commonly occur when surgery is performed by urologists not exclusively specialized in male urethral and penile reconstructive surgery. When the surgery is not properly performed, failure is an expected outcome.” [Source]

NOTES

Note that this is different from the ear meatoplasty! And note that is is not meatotomy, although some doctors use the terms interchangeably.

ONE-STAGE MEATOPLASTY IS POTENTIALLY AN OPTION IN MY CASE

SUB-MEATAL STRICTURE SOMETIMES REQUIRES TWO STAGE SURGERY

“For the most complex strictures of the anterior urethra, including the urethral meatus, a staged surgical approach is adopted, removing the stricture then placing a graft in the open space. This is allowed to heal open to the air for a period of 6-12 months, before it is “re-tubularized” into a urethra. This is usually reserved for individuals with strictures in the pendulous urethra, very scarred strictures, repeated failures, and very long strictures.” [Source]

A TEN PERCENT RECURRENCE RATE EXISTS EVEN FOR URETHROPLASTY

“Like all surgical procedures, the results of urethroplasty are not 100%. A recurrence urethral stricture rate of 10 % can be expected long-term. Patients with pelvic fracture associated urethral stricture and prostate involvement associated strictures have the highest recurrence rate.” [Source]

The surgical technique of Meatoplasty is generally suggested in patients with meatal urethral stricturesThere are three basic types of Meatoplasty [Source] This is perhaps the best description.

  • Meatoplasty using skin flapUsing this technique, the urethral meatus is augmented using a penile skin flap (figure 1).

  • Meatoplasty with oral mucosal graft. Using this technique, the urethral meatus is augmented by a transplant of an oral graft (figure 2).

  • Meatoplasty with skin graft. Using this technique, the urethral meatus  is augmented by a transplant of a skin graft.

Jordan Flap Meatoplasty – a lot of details here.

DETAILS – IN A PAPER: Meatoplasty using double buccal mucosal graft technique – Apul Goel, Anuj Goel, Diwakar Dalela, Satya N. Sankhwar, International Urology and Nephrology, December 2009, Volume 41, Issue 4, pp 885–887

Glanular/meatal stricture can be seen as an isolated problem or as part of more extensive urethral stricture disease. Various treatment options are available, including penile flap and buccal mucosa, for the treatment of stricture at this location

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Stem cell treatment for post-prostate cancer surgery incontinence – but note there are potential severe risks associated with it

This is an amazing advance in science – BUT THERE IS A RISK THAT STEM CELL THERAPY MIGHT MULTIPLY ANY RESIDUAL CANCER CELLS THAT ARE LEFT BEHIND AFTER SURGERY.

“Decades ago, researchers discovered that a particular type of stem cell — mesenchymal stem cells — in bone marrow could generate new bone, cartilage, and fat. In 2001 researchers discovered that mesenchymal cells are even more plentiful in body fat…. Injured and inflamed cells send out an SOS signal; new stem cells pick it up. “The stem cells are so smart, all you have to do is turn them loose,” he offers. “They float around to different areas of the body and fix them.”…you’ll find a significant number of unhappy people who’ve paid thousands of dollars at clinics and have not seen any results. ?” [Source]

“Stem cells are able to be derived from a number of sources: embryonic stems cells (ESCs) and mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) , which include: placental or amniotic fluid stem cells (AFPSCs), muscle-derived stem cells (MDSC) , adipose-derived stem cells (ADSC) , bone-marrow-derived stem cells, and even urinary-derived stem cells (USC).” [Urinary Continence and Sexual Function After Robotic Radical Prostatectomy]

Human trials in stress urinary incontinence have been ongoing for a number of years. Carr et al. reported on a patient population of 38 women with stress urinary incontinence who underwent muscle-derived stem cell injections into the sphincter. The women were also offered a second injection 3 months later. Ninety percent of the treated women had over a 50 % decrease in pad weight and only 50 % reported leaks. Adverse events were essentially absent [ 38 ].

Gotoh treated 11 men with persistent stress urinary incontinence 1 year after prostate surgery and demonstrated a 60 % decrease in urinary leakage volume on pads weighed by the patients. One of the 11 achieved complete return of urinary control. Functional urethral leak and urethral closing pressures were also increased compared to pretreatment levels. No adverse events were reported [39 ].

Currently, there is a large multicenter ongoing trial phase 3 trial in the United States with muscle-derived stem cells in women with stress urinary incontinence and a phase 1, 2 trial using muscle-derived stem cell in postpros-tatectomy incontinence (ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01893138 and NCT02291432).

Although stem cells derived from any source are not yet ready for clinical use in men with stress urinary incontinence after radical retropubic prostatectomy, the future appears to hold promise. Nonetheless, ethical and regulatory issues remain of concern and may present hurdles to widespread clinical adoption [40 ].

The early ethical concerns surrounding the use of fetal embryonic stem cells have by and large been resolved by the development of so many other sources for multipotent stem cells. Nonetheless, the recent classification of stem cells as a “drug” places them under the purview of the FDA and now regulatory hurdles may enhance or impede the science and usefulness of these agents.

Finally, the fears of the development of secondary cancers or causing early recurrences/failures of cancers if stems cells are released into the operative field to and in early functional recovery are very real. Well-structured trials need to be carried out to address these questions and the questions of which (if any) of the currently available products might be best used in men undergoing prostatectomy. Nonetheless, the future of stem cells use in our patients undergoing prostatectomy appears bright.  [Urinary Continence and Sexual Function After Robotic Radical Prostatectomy]

Stem cells have been found to fix this issue by regenerating relevant tissue – THIS DOCTOR DOES IT. (Michell Kaye).

Male Incontinence and Cell Surgical Network is using Stromal Vascular Fraction with adipose derived adult mesenchymal stem cells to treat post prostatectomy incontinence. The SVF and a small amount of condensed fat matrix is injected with a telescope directly into a deficient sphincter under local anesthetic. Based on experience from Nagoya University, Japan where Stromal Vascular Fraction has been used successfully for male incontinence, we believe that the external sphincter may be regenerated to some extent to provide bladder control. can provide access to the same technology through our investigatory protocol. [Source]

“In the past five years, the number of U.S. stem cell clinics has mushroomed from 25 to 570, according to a recent report published in the journal Cell Stem Cell…. the costly procedures are still unapproved by the FDA, leaving an open gate for medical charlatans and hucksters.” [Source – including analysis]

“the FDA warns that stem cells can migrate to the wrong site or turn into tumors.” [source]

CLINICAL TRIALS IN AUSTRALIA

http://www.stemcellsaustralia.edu.au/About-Stem-Cells/trials-in-australia.aspx

PAPERS/REPORTS

Stem Cell Injections Ease Incontinence (2007) [“Endoscopic injections of human umbilical cord blood stem cells may be a safe treatment option for women with stress urinary incontinence (SUI), according to findings presented here at the American Urological Association annual meeting.”]

Stem Cell Therapy for Incontinence: Where Are We Now? (2011) What is the Realistic Potential?
Charuspong Dissaranan, Michelle A. Cruz, Bruna M. Couri, Howard B. Goldman, and Margot S. Damaser [” the future of this therapy looks promising”]

Stem Cells Treatment for the Local Urinary Incontinence After a Radical Prostate Cancer Surgery (2012) – clinical trial.

Stem cell injection successfully treats urinary incontinence (2012) [“The procedure means that today, she can do her strenuous morning exercises of standing broad jumps and stride jumps without having to wear heavy pads to absorb leakage.”

Stem Cell Therapy for Male Urinary Incontinence – Giberti C. · Gallo F. · Schenone M. · Cortese P. · Ninotta G. [“Regarding animal studies, bone marrow-, muscle- and adipose-derived stem cells have been widely studied, showing regeneration of the urethral sphincter and recovery of the damaged pelvic nerves. With regard to human studies, only four papers are available in the literature using muscle- and adipose-derived stem cells which reported a significant improvement in sphincteric function and incontinence with no severe side effects.”]

Pilot Study of Adipose Stem Cells in the Treatment of Urinary Incontinence (2014) [“ASC injection is a viable treatment strategy for female urinary incontinence.”]

Stem Cells May Ease Urinary Incontinence, Study Says (2014) [The study is published online in the July issue of the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.]

The potential role of stem cells in the treatment of urinary incontinence (2015) Christine Tran and Margot S. Damas [“Early clinical trials using stem cells for the treatment of stress urinary incontinence in both male and female patients have also achieved promising functional results with minimal adverse effects.”]

Stem Cell Therapy for Treatment of Stress Urinary Incontinence: The Current Status and Challenges
(2016) Shukui Zhou,1 Kaile Zhang,1 Anthony Atala,2 Oula Khoury,2 Sean V. Murphy,2 Weixin Zhao,2 and Qiang Fu1[“stem cell transplantation as a therapy for SUI has great promise”]

VIDEOS

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