Objective: To compare outcomes with early vs delayed reconstruction following pelvic fracture urethral injury (PFUI) to determine if a traditional 3-month delay is necessary. This delay has been advocated to allow resolution of traumatic inflammation and hematoma but has never been validated. We proceed to reconstruction at 3-6 weeks if the associated injuries are stable, the perineum is soft on rectal palpation, and the fracture is stable for lithotomy positioning. Methods: PFUI patients treated with a suprapubic tube and delayed urethroplasty from October 1991 to August 2016 were included. Patients with initial catheter realignment were excluded. We compared reconstruction failure, incontinence, and erectile dysfunction rates in patients reconstructed within 6 weeks after injury with those reconstructed after the traditional ≥12 weeks. Results: Thirty-nine patients were identified with a median age of 32 years (17 to 69). Overall, the median urethral gap was 2 cm (1-4.5) and median follow-up was 64 months (12-277). Stricture failure occurrence was 5.1%, incontinence rate was 7.7%, and erectile dysfunction rate was 56.4%. The 22 patients with urethroplasty ≤6 weeks post-injury were no more likely to experience erectile dysfunction (13 vs 9, P =.70), urinary incontinence (1 vs 2, P =.40) or reconstruction failure (2 vs 0, P =.20) than the 17 patients delayed ≥12 weeks. Conclusion: We report similar outcomes following urethral reconstruction for PFUI patients repaired ≤6 weeks after injury compared with those delayed ≥12 weeks. This suggests that in selected cases reconstruction at 3-6 weeks is feasible, minimizing the morbidity of a suprapubic tube.
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