In order to test the effectiveness of urethroplasty surgery, urologists perform something called a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG). This procedure (see my post – Catheter-Free After Test To Ensure The Urethroplasty Was Successful! – for more on that), if it shows that all is well, will end with the happy circumstance of removing the catheter from the patient. It’s a pretty big milestone in the ordeal of someone who has had a urethral stricture.
I want to report how things are exactly one week after my VCUG. It was a huge relief to have the catheter out after six months. And happily, the surgery worked so well that my, umm, flow-strength was unbelievably powerful. I actually cried out in alarm the first time I went to pee at home. My wife thought something had gone dreadfully wrong. But the opposite was true. I had to take a step back away from the toilet.
But even though the VCUG was 17 days after the surgery, I continued to have pain in the area of the incision – the perineum. I had to sit on an inflatable “donut” if I wasn’t lying down or standing. Unfortunately, as I write this 24 days after the surgery, the situation is the same as far as the pain and discomfort in that area.
Part of the problem is that the stitches, which I am assured are supposed to dissolve, are still very much there. And there are several little barbs protruding from the skin and causing some of the pain.
The other part of the problem is the that during the surgery, they retract the scrotum via some sort of strapping device (I’ll try to get more info on that), and that can cause quite a lot of trauma to the scrotum and its contents. I still seem to be feeling pain from swelling associated with that as well.
[Update on Aug 12, 2013: the stitch that I felt poking out seems to be gone. I guess the stitches have dissolved. Unfortunately, the pain has no changed. So there must not have been much, if any, irritation caused by that pokey stitch. Also, after doing a bit of research I found that the scrotum is retracted via a “retractor ring” very similar to the Scott Retractor, which you can see in the picture at the following link (it’s a bit graphic – just so you know): https://www.urology-textbook.com/perineal-surgery.html. After seeing the picture, I’m not very surprised that there is still pain down there. The retractor pulls pretty hard away from the perineum in order to help provide tension. And the scrotum is held and locked down pretty firmly in order to keep it out of the way. I’ll ask tomorrow (4 weeks after the surgery) if this pain is anything to worry about, and if it was likely caused by the retractor. And I’ll update you with the answer]. [Update on the answer on Aug 16th: I talked to my surgeon today and found out that though it is, in fact, normal to still feel swelling and discomfort in the area of the surgery, I was actually prolonging the pain in the scrotum area! Read about it here: Causes Of Scrotum And Testicle Pain Weeks After Urethroplasty.]
It may be several more weeks before either of these remaining issues resolve themselves. From what I have read, and from what my doctor said, it isn’t serious and will all heal up in time. Some guys heal quickly while others take as long as 3-4 months to fully heal.
So that is my status 1 week after VCUG and 24 days after the surgery. I’m writing this post as I sit on my donut in my recliner [note: in the Aug 16th update above, I learned that the donut-pillow (without anything to support the scrotum also) was prolonging my pain!]. I will continue to provide periodic updates until everything is healed.