December 2, 2008

Tool checks leaks after prostate surgery

A diagnostic procedure used to examine the bladder can be used to detect vesicourethral leaks after prostate surgery, researchers in South Korea say.

Researchers at the National University College of Medicine in Seoul said 46 patients who had prostatectomies -- prostate removal -- were included in the study.

Fifty-one sets of multidetector CT cystography images were evaluated. The study found the urinary leak detection rate using MDCT cystography was 80.4 percent; that compares with the 54.3 percent detection rate using conventional cystography, said Dr. Sung Hwang, the lead author.

MDCT can show the leakage point and the dimension of the defects, which can help the clinician make a better treatment plan, Hwang said in a statement.

Prolonged leaks can cause urinary incontinence. In our study 37 out of 46 patients encountered vesicourethral leaks and an early and correct diagnosis of these leaks can eventually minimize urinary incontinence.

From an economical standpoint, early detection of urinary leaks by MDCT cystography is also beneficial because it can reduce a patient's hospital stay, the study said.

However, we are not recommending this exam for everyone who has a prostatectomy because the exam includes radiation, Hwang said.

The study appears in the American Journal of Roentgenology.