Functional Anatomy of the Male Urethra for the Reconstructive Surgeon

  • James Furr
  • Joel GelmanEmail author


While an intimate understanding of the male urethra is important to any practicing urologist, the need is magnified for those performing complex urethral reconstructive surgeries. A close knowledge of blood supply as well as the normal anatomic course of the urethra can have significant implications regarding surgical outcome. Here, we briefly discuss normal penile anatomy and vasculature, as well as outline anatomic considerations when performing stricture assessment and surgical reconstruction.


Urethra anatomy Urethral vasculature Urethral reconstruction Embryology Urethral stricture 


Conflicts of Interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


  1. 1.
    Park J. Normal development of the genitourinary tract. In: Wein A, Kavoussi L, Partin A, Peters C, editors. Campbell-Walsh urology. Philadelphia: Elsevier; 2012. p. 2975–3001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Glenister TW. The origin and fate of the urethral plate in man. J Anat. 1954;88(3):413–25.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Blaschko SD, Cunha GR, Baskin LS. Molecular mechanisms of external genitalia development. Differentiation. 2012;84(3):261–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Baskin LS. Hypospadias and urethral development. J Urol. 2000;163(3):951–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Myers RP. Male urethral sphincteric anatomy and radical prostatectomy. Urol Clin North Am. 1991;18(2):211–27.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Karam I, Droupy S, Abd-Alsamad I, Korbage A, Uhl JF, Benoit G, et al. The precise location and nature of the nerves to the male human urethra: histological and immunohistochemical studies with three-dimensional reconstruction. Eur Urol. 2005;48(5):858–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Yucel S, Baskin LS. An anatomical description of the male and female urethral sphincter complex. J Urol. 2004;171(5):1890–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Jung J, Ahn HK, Huh Y. Clinical and functional anatomy of the urethral sphincter. Int Neurourol J. 2012;16(3):102–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Mouraviev VB, Santucci RA. Cadaveric anatomy of pelvic fracture urethral distraction injury: most injuries are distal to the external urinary sphincter. J Urol. 2005;173(3):869–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fredrick A, Erickson BA, Stensland K, Vanni AJ. Functional effects of bulbospongiosus muscle sparing on ejaculatory function and post-void dribbling after bulbar urethroplasty. J Urol. 2017;197(3 Pt 1):738–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Yee DS, Ahlering TE, Gelman J, Skarecky DW. Fossa navicularis strictures due to 22F catheters used in robotic radical prostatectomy. JSLS. 2007;11(3):321–5.PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Armenakas NA, McAninch JW. Management of fossa navicularis strictures. Urol Clin North Am. 2002;29(2):477–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Chiou R, Donovan I, Anderson J, Matamoros A, Wobig R, Taylor R. Color Doppler ultrasound assessment of urethral anatomy artery location: potential implications for technique of visual internal urethrotomy. J Urol. 1998;159:796–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gelman J, Rodriguez E, Jr. One-stage urethral reconstruction for stricture recurrence after urethral stent placement. J Urol. 2007;177(1):188–191; discussion 91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Humphrey PA. Genital skin and urethral anatomy. In: Brandes S, editor. Urethral reconstructive surgery. Totowa: Springer Humana-Press; 2008. p. 1–8.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Micheli E, Ranieri A, Peracchia G, Lembo A. End-to-end urethroplasty: long-term results. BJU Int. 2002;90(1):68–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Jordan G, Cohen L. Penile revascularization after pelvic trauma: current rationale and results. Contemp Urol. 2007;19(4):24.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gelman J, Wisenbaugh ES. Posterior urethral strictures. Adv Urol. 2015;2015:628107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, IrvineOrangeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Urology, Center for Reconstructive UrologyUniversity of California, IrvineOrangeUSA

Personalised recommendations