The Evolution of Obstruction Induced Overactive Bladder Symptoms Following Urethrolysis for Female Bladder Outlet Obstruction

Jonathan S. Starkman, John W. Duffy, Christopher E. Wolter, Melissa R. Kaufman, Harriette M. Scarpero, Roger R. Dmochowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Purpose: Bladder outlet obstruction following stress incontinence surgery may present as a spectrum of lower urinary tract symptoms. We evaluated the prevalence and impact of persistent overactive bladder symptoms following urethrolysis for iatrogenic bladder outlet obstruction. Materials and Methods: In a retrospective review we identified 40 patients who underwent urethrolysis. All patients underwent a standardized urological evaluation. Patients identified with genitourinary erosion, neurogenic bladder dysfunction and preexisting overactive bladder were excluded. Urethrolysis outcomes were determined by subjective bladder symptoms and objective parameters. Validated questionnaires were completed to assess symptom bother, patient satisfaction and quality of life. Statistical analyses were performed using Stata®, version 9.0. Results: A total of 40 patients were included in the study with a mean ± SD followup of 13 ± 11 months (range 3 to 38). Of the patients 34 patients presented with obstructive symptoms, while 36 had overactive bladder symptoms. Obstructive symptoms resolved in 28 of the 34 patients (82%), while overactive bladder symptoms resolved completely in only 12 (35%) and they were significantly improved in 4 (12%). Overall 20 patients (56%) were on antimuscarinics for refractory overactive bladder and 8 ultimately required sacral neuromodulation. Pre-urethrolysis detrusor overactivity was more likely in patients with persistent overactive bladder symptoms than in those in whom overactive bladder symptoms resolved (70% vs 38%). Patients with persistent overactive bladder had significantly greater symptom severity/bother, and decreased perception of improvement and quality of life following urethrolysis. Conclusions: Following urethrolysis overactive bladder symptoms may remain refractory in 50% or greater of patients, which has a negative impact on quality of life and the impression of improvement after surgery. Detrusor overactivity demonstrated preoperatively may be useful for predicting who may have persistent overactive bladder symptoms despite an effective urethrolysis procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1018-1023
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


  • bladder
  • overactive
  • urethra
  • urinary bladder
  • urinary bladder neck obstruction
  • urinary incontinence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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