Modern surgery has developed to such an extent that the body of knowledge and technical skills required have led to surgeons specialising in particular areas, usually an anatomical area of the body or occasionally in a particular technique or type of patient.
There are ten surgical specialties and this briefing covers urology.
What do urological surgeons do?
Urologists deal with diseases, trauma and congenital abnormalities of the kidney, bladder, genitalia and urinary tract as well as male sexual and reproductive health. Urology combines management of many non-surgical problems, such as urinary infections, and surgical problems such as the correction of incontinence, prostate problems and the treatment of cancer.
The principle sub-specialties of urological surgery
- Endourology – specialists in dealing with prostate, bladder and kidney conditions, particularly kidney stones via minimally-invasive “closed” techniques using telescopes rather than open surgery.
- Urological oncology – Urologists treat five cancers – prostate, bladder, kidney, testicular and penile cancer.
- Female and reconstructive urology – the investigation and treatment of bladder symptoms and incontinence in women and those with neurological disorders, such as spinal injury and multiple sclerosis in both sexes.
- Andrology – the counterpart of gynaecology, deals with conditions of male sexual health. This includes impotence and conditions of the penis.
Endoscopic (telescopic) procedures:
- Diagnostic examination of the bladder (cystoscopy)
- Resection and ablation (destruction) of the prostate with lasers or heat
- Removal of bladder tumours
- Treatment of bladder and kidney stones
- Hydrocoele (water on the testis)
- Removal of the prostate, kidney or bladder for cancer
- Removal of kidney for stone or infection
- Diversion of urine into a stoma (ileal conduit or bag)
- Reconstruction of the bladder following it’s removal
- Reconstruction of the urethra (water passage) after damage (urethroplasty)
Urology was the first branch of surgery to use endoscopic and key-hole techniques and remains the greatest user of minimally-invasive techniques.
Urology is at the forefront of the development of robotic surgery for removal of the prostate and other urological operations.
Royal College of Surgeons Press Office