In a New Zealand first, bladder neck stents have been implanted in two men with bladder neck contracture, following radical prostatectomies. Dr Jim Duthie, prostate cancer surgeon and medical advisor to the Prostate Cancer Foundation is very excited about this new tool in the arsenal to treat bladder neck contracture following prostate cancer surgery and has high hopes for it. The great news is that ACC will cover the costs of this procedure through the private system, whether or not the original surgery was public or private.
Bladder neck contracture occurs when scar tissue develops at the surgical join between the bladder and urethra (anastamosis), and it happens to between 8 and 12% of men. Current treatment is to stretch or cut through the scar tissue, but it often recurs and can be a real burden in some men. The two men treated today were in this situation, and so had nothing to lose from trying the new procedure. The stent is especially designed to be anchored in the urethra with a narrow wire that goes across the sphincter so that continence is preserved. If the stent is ineffective it can be removed easily under local anaesthetic. The guys with bladder neck contracture can have a really miserable time of it, so this is a great tool for when all else has failed.
Dr Duthie explains how it all works in this video