Management of acquired rectourethral fistulas in adults

Rectourethral fistula is an uncommon but devastating condition resulting from surgery, radiation, trauma, inflammation, or occasionally anorectal anomaly. Because of involving the urinary and the digestive system, surgical repair can be challenging. More than 40 different surgical approaches were described in the literature. However, no standardized management exists due to the rarity and complexity of the problem. Spontaneous closure of fistula is rare and most cases need reconstructive procedures. Appropriate preoperative assessment is crucial for the decision of operation time and method. Gradually accumulating evidence indicates surgeons should take fistula size, tissue health and vascularity associated with radiation or infection, urethral stricture, and bladder neck sclerosis into consideration and make a proper treatment plan according to the features of various approaches. Accurate preoperative evaluation and proper approach selection would increase success rates. Multiple surgical team corporation, including colorectal, urological and plastic surgeons, would optimize the outcomes.

Asian journal of urology. 2018 Jan 31 [Epub]

Shulian Chen, Rang Gao, Hong Li, Kunjie Wang

Department of Urology, Institute of Urology (Laboratory of Reconstructive Urology), West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China.