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Endoscopic urethrotomy versus open urethroplasty for men with bulbar urethral stricture: the OPEN randomised trial cost-effectiveness analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jing Shen, Professor Luke ValeORCiD, Dr Paul Whybrow, Dr Trevor Dorkin



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021, The Author(s).Background: Bulbar urethral stricture is a common cause for urinary symptoms in men and its two main treatment options both have drawbacks with little evidence on their relative cost-effectiveness. Current guidelines on the management of recurrent bulbar urethral stricture have been predominantly based on expert opinion and panel consensus. Objective: To assess the relative cost-effectiveness of open urethroplasty and endoscopic urethrotomy as treatment for recurrent urethral stricture in men. Methods: Set in the UK National Health Service with recruitment from 38 hospital sites, a randomised controlled trial of open urethroplasty and endoscopic urethrotomy with 6-monthly follow-up over 24 months was conducted. Two hundred and twenty-two men requiring operative treatment for recurrence of bulbar urethral stricture and having had at least one previous intervention for stricture were recruited. Effectiveness was measured by quality- adjusted life years (QALYs) derived from EQ-5D 5L. Cost-effectiveness was measured by the incremental cost per QALY gained over 24 months using a within trial analysis and a Markov model with a 10-year time horizon. Results: In the within trial, urethroplasty cost on average more than urethrotomy (cost difference: £2148 [95% CI 689, 3606]) and resulted in a similar number of QALYs on average (QALY difference: − 0.01 [95% CI − 0.17, 0.14)] over 24 months. The Markov model produced similar results. Sensitivity analyses using multiple imputation, suggested that the results were robust, despite observed missing data. Conclusions: Based on current practice and evidence, urethrotomy is a cost-effective treatment compared with urethroplasty. Keypoints: Urethrotomy and urethroplasty both led to symptom improvement for men with bulbar urethral stricture—a common cause for urinary symptoms in men; Urethroplasty appeared unlikely to offer good value for money compared to urethrotomy based on current evidence. Trial registration: ISRCTN: 98009168 (date: 29 November 2012) and it is also in the UK NIHR Portfolio (reference 13507). Trial protocol: The latest version (1.8) of the full protocol is available at: and a published version is also available: Stephenson R, Carnell S, Johnson N, Brown R, Wilkinson J, Mundy A, et al. Open urethroplasty versus endoscopic urethrotomy—clarifying the management of men with recurrent urethral stricture (the OPEN trial): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial. Trials 2015;16:600. Trial main clinical results publication: Goulao B, Carnell S, Shen J, MacLennan G, Norrie J, Cook J, et al. Surgical Treatment for Recurrent Bulbar Urethral Stricture: A Randomised Open-label Superiority Trial of Open Urethroplasty Versus Endoscopic Urethrotomy (the OPEN Trial), European Urology, Volume 78, Issue 4, 2020, Pages 572–580.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Shen J, Vale L, Goulao B, Whybrow P, Payne S, Watkin N, Dorkin T, Mundy A, Anderson P, Venn S, Eardley I, Dickerson D, Thiruchelvam N, Inman R, Chapple C, Baird A, Sinclair A, Krishnanm R, Rees R, N'dow J, Montgomery B, Swinn M, Henderson A, Donohue J, Venn S, Mason R, Madaan S, Hilmy M, Kirchin V, Davenport K, McGrath J, Porter T, MacDonagh R, Birring A, Ravi R, Husain J, Shabbir M, Baldo O, Chitale S, Garthwaite M, Srirangam S, Chowoo L, Rashid T, Skyrme R, Featherstone J, Alhasso A, Tatarov O

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMC Urology

Year: 2021

Volume: 21

Issue: 1

Online publication date: 03/05/2021

Acceptance date: 12/04/2021

Date deposited: 08/06/2021

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2490

Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd


DOI: 10.1186/s12894-021-00836-1

PubMed id: 33941140


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