, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 536-542

Comparison of voiding cystourethrography and double-balloon urethrography in the diagnosis of complex female urethral diverticula

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The preoperative work-up of female urethral diverticula should provide the surgeon with maximum data regarding the anatomy and structure of the diverticulum. Preoperatively, the number of diverticula, as well as the location, size, configuration, and communication to the urethra need to be clearly depicted. The objective of this study was to compare the information gained by voiding cystourethrography (VCUG) and positive-pressure double-balloon urethrography (DBU), and to verify which imaging modality can better delineate the features of the diverticula. Twelve women with a presumptive clinical diagnosis of a urethral diverticulum underwent VCUG followed by DBU, and the radiological data from each modality were compared. In 4 of 12 patients (33.3%) VCUG completely failed in demonstrating the diverticulum, whereas DBU showed a large complex diverticulum in 2 patients and a distinct mid-urethral diverticulum in 2 patients. In the remaining 8 women (66.7%) VCUG delineated only the lower part of the diverticulum, whereas DBU depicted a large diverticulum extending beneath the bladder neck in 3 patients and multiple diverticula in 5 patients. The sensitivity of DBU and VCUG, in our series, was therefore 100 and 66.7%, respectively. The DBU supplied excellent documentation regarding the location, size, configuration, and communication of the diverticula to the urethra in every case, which markedly facilitated surgical excision of the diverticula in 9 of 12 patients. Three patients refused surgery and elected conservative treatment. In our experience, VCUG had a low sensitivity as a screening test for the diagnosis of female urethral diverticula, and failed to demonstrate properly the major structural characteristics of the diverticula, whereas DBU was highly sensitive as a diagnostic tool and supplied excellent anatomical delineation of the diverticula.