Treatment of Urethral Syndrome: A Prospective Randomized Study with Nd:YAG LaserCostantini E. · Zucchi A. · Del Zingaro M. · Mearini L.
Urology Department, University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy
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Introduction: The urethral syndrome is characterized by irritative disturbances, the urgency-frequency syndrome and/or pain associated with negative urine cultures. Areas of metaplasic tissue in the trigonal-bladder neck region (trigonitis) are sometimes present. We performed a comparative randomized study to assess the efficacy of side- or end-firing neodymium (Nd):YAG laser surgery in destroying metaplasia and relieving symptoms. Materials and Methods: Between January 1997 and December 2003, 62 consecutive women with the urethral syndrome and squamous metaplasia of the bladder neck-trigone, who were refractory to drugs, were randomly assigned to treatment with end-firing (group A) or side-firing (group B) Nd:YAG laser. Three, 6 and 12 months after surgery all patients underwent a clinical urological examination and cystoscopy. Surgery was considered successful when patients reported they were satisfied with the outcome or stated on the UDI-6 questionnaire that symptoms were reduced by at least 75%. Results: Group A end-firing laser: patients rapidly improved (2–3 weeks) but symptoms worsened within 3 months. At 6–12 months, symptoms had improved in 19% of the 31 patients and remained unchanged or worsened in 81%. Group B side-firing laser: irritative disturbances worsened in the 7–10 days after therapy but markedly improved within 2–3 months. Symptoms significantly improved in 68% of the 28 patients and remained unchanged or worsened in 32%. Results were significantly better after side-firing laser (p < 0.001) and a trend towards improvements emerged as the joule levels rose. At 3 months, cystoscopy and biopsy showed squamous metaplasia was no longer present in patients whose symptoms had improved. Whitish areas were still present in the bladder neck-trigone in patients whose symptoms had remained unchanged or worsened. These patients were retreated. Conclusions: In the treatment of the urethral syndrome the few reports on attempts to restore a normal urothelium by means of diathermocoagulation and cryotherapy have been encouraging. Side-firing laser, which produces necrotic coagulation followed by reconstitution of normal functional epithelium, was significantly more successful than end-firing and was associated with a 78% success rate. These results are encouraging in patients who are usually refractory to medical therapy.
© 2006 S. Karger AG, Basel
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