This surgical specialty deals with disorders of the urogenital tract.
Consultant urologists see patients with conditions affecting the kidneys and bladder in both sexes, and the prostate and genitalia in men. Female genital tract problems are usually seen by gynaecologists.
Urologists specialise in key areas.
- Oncology. Patients are assessed and treated for cancer of the urinary tract. The most common tumours treated are the prostate, bladder, kidney and testes. Consultant urologists with an interest in oncology will usually work closely with an oncologist who specialises in radiotherapy and chemotherapy for these tumours.
- Male urinary outflow disease. Non-cancerous enlargement of the prostate gland happens in all men over the age of 35 years. Men have significant symptoms as they get older, typically after 60 years of age, although younger men may also be affected. Your consultant will investigate these symptoms and give advice on treatment. Other common causes of outflow symptoms include strictures, where scarring of the urethra - the tube out of the bladder - causes it to narrow.
- Andrology. Urologists who specialise in andrology - the study of male sexual function - will investigate and treat erectile dysfunction or impotence, and also male infertility. Treatment for this is usually undertaken in conjunction with specialists in assisted fertility techniques, such as in-vitro fertilisation or IVF.
- Female Incontinence. Although there is common ground with gynaecology, at least half of female incontinence results from disorders of the bladder. Urologists will investigate the specific causes and offer appropriate treatment. At Bupa Cromwell Hospital we offer patients a urodynamic test which assesses the function of the bladder and the bladder outflow tract or urethra. For further information please download the urodynamic test information sheet provided by consultant urologist Mr Mohamed Hammadeh.
- Endourology/Stone Disease. This sub-specialty deals with the treatment of kidney and or ureteric obstruction, secondary to benign or malignant causes. Benign causes such as stones, strictures or narrowing, can cause obstruction which can be treated conservatively or with surgery including endoscopic, keyhole or open-stone surgery.
The treatment of malignant causes will depend on the site, the type of malignancy and the extent of the disease. The treatment of a kidney stone will depend on its size, position and anatomy of the kidney, whether there are symptoms and also on whether the patient's fitness and condition indicates they are appropriate for a certain procedure or not.
The same applies for stones in the urethra and bladder. Some patients may require no treatment. Where treatment is required this can include medical treatment, shock wave treatment, endoscopic laser stone surgery, percutaneous nephrolithotomy, keyhole or open-stone surgery. For further information please download the kidney stones information sheet provided by consultant urological surgeon Mr Asif Raza.