Intermittent self-dilatation (ISD) is a therapeutic strategy used to stabilise a urethral stricture and postpone or avoid further treatment. Adding corticosteroids to this mode of management might further enhance its outcomes by downregulation of collagen deposition and excessive scar tissue formation.
To explore whether a course of ISD with topical corticosteroids is superior at stabilising urethral stricture disease in men and improving functional outcomes over a course of ISD alone.
This systematic review and meta-analysis was undertaken by the European Association of Urology Urethral Strictures Guideline Panel according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses (PRISMA) guidelines (CRD42021256744). The primary benefit outcome was successful stabilisation of the urethral stricture. Treatment-related complications were the primary harm outcome.
In total, 978 records were screened for eligibility, ultimately leading to five included studies, all randomised controlled trials, comprising 250 patients, of whom 124 underwent a course of ISD with corticosteroids and 126 underwent a course of ISD alone, all after direct vision internal urethrotomy (DVIU). Successful stabilisation of the stricture was achieved in 77% and 64% of patients in the group with and without corticosteroids, respectively (p?=?0.04). No extra complications related to the addition of corticosteroids to the ISD regimen were reported. The risk of bias of the included studies was generally unclear to high.
Based on the currently available data, a course of ISD with topical corticosteroids appears to be safe and superior at stabilising a urethral stricture after DVIU in the short term to a course of ISD alone. However, given the unclear to high risk of bias in the included studies, further high-quality studies are needed to fully underpin this