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Urethral Injuries

If the urethra is injured, a person may develop urethra obstructions or strictures. Urethral strictures occur when the urethra is injured or scarred by an infection and then narrows. As a result, problems with the normal passage of urine and semen can develop.

Urethral injuries can have devastating long-term consequences, such as potential complications of impotence, stricture and incontinence.

Injuries may affect either the anterior or posterior part of the urethra. In most cases, anterior urethral trauma is characterized as a blunt injury to the perineum — the area between the genitals and anus — since the urethra is located near the skin in this area. This type of trauma is often the result of straddle-like injuries, such as when a child forcefully straddles a bicycle or fence. Penetrating injuries to the anterior urethra, such as those from a gunshot wound, also may cause strictures or obstructions.

Posterior urethral trauma affects the part of the urethra that travels inside the body. This type of trauma almost always occurs as a result of pelvic fractures following automobile accidents, serious falls or industrial crash injuries.

Our Approach to Urethral Injuries

UCSF is a national leader in urological care, including treatment for injuries to the kidneys, bladder, genitals, ureters (the tubes that carry urine from each kidney to the bladder) and urethra (the tube that allows the bladder to void urine). We are committed to providing innovative, highly skilled care with compassion.

Treating urethral injuries depends on factors that include the severity of the damage and the patient's health. For those who require reconstructive surgery, our surgeons have expertise in minimally invasive approaches, ureteral reimplantation and many ureteral reconstruction techniques.

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Among the top hospitals in the nation

  • usnews-urology

    Best in Northern California for urology

  • n1-2x

    in NIH funding for urology research

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.