I finally had my follow-up appointment today. I mostly wanted to ask about the curvature, twist and pain of my erection and the continuing strange sensation in parts of my foreskin, where some patches are almost numb and others that feel like they’re sunburnt).
The first step, as usual, was uroflowmetry. I peed into the machine and returned to the waiting room. Then the nurse came back for me and took me to an examination room where she measured the remaining urine in my bladder with the ultrasound device. There were 90 ml remaining, although some of that might have been new as I’d had a lot to drink in the morning to make sure I could pee on demand.
After a while a junior doctor appeared, yet another one I’d never seen before. He told me that although the shape of the curve now looked normal the maximum flow rate was too low and they’d do a cystoscopy to check out what the problem was.
I wasn’t all that keen on the idea, knowing that cystoscopies have a relatively high chance of causing further damage. I was happier once I heard that one of the surgeons who’d performed my urethroplasty would be there.
After all the usual preparation, including two large doses of local anaesthetic gel squirted up my urethra, the endoscope went in.
The good news is that the graft is looking nicely pink and healthy. The bad news is that there’s a stricture where the graft joins the original urethra on the side towards the bladder. That has partially blocked my urethra at that point, although not enough to be very noticeable. You could just about see past the stricture to normal urethra on the other side, so it wasn’t very long at all, just a millimetre or two.
The doctors discussed with each other, with the nurse and me occasionally reminding them that I was there, and decided that I should try dilating the stricture for six months or so to see if it helps. That’s another thing I wasn’t keen on, knowing that dilation has an extremely poor success rate and can actually make things worse.
The nurse disappeared off to get a selection of different sizes of catheters to work out what size I should start with. I endured the awkward chit-chat and then silence with the senior doctor.
In the end only a number 8 catheter would pass through, after several attempts by both the nurse and the surgeon. It seems that there’s a sort of little pocket formed by the graft that kept catching the catheters and there’s no way I’d be able to get any useful size up there myself. They were hoping to start with at least a 12 and work up to a 16.
So now I’m waiting for an appointment for another urethrotomy.
This isn’t entirely surprising. Small, thin strictures of this kind are apparently common after urethroplasty. All the research I’ve seen suggests that the chance of recurrence after urethrotomy is low, I’m just kind of disappointed that the whole thing isn’t over yet.
One option I’m sort of considering is to hold off on the urethrotomy and see if the stricture gets any worse. I can live with it in its current state. I’ll have to read up on things a bit more and think about it.
And finally, the things I originally wanted to ask about (wonky erections and odd sensation) are all quite normal and related to scar tissue and regrowing nerves. I need to be patient. Also, erections are apparently good for stretching the scar tissue.