Laser soldering technique for sutureless urethral surgery

A. J. Kirsch, D. A. canning, S. A. Zderic, T. W. Hensle, J. W. Duckett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Investigators have attempted sutureless surgery to decrease operative time, lessen the inflammatory response, maintain luminal continuity, and increase the ease of performing technically difficult surgery. Only recently has laser-tissue welding (LTW) been used for urologic reconstruction in humans. Herein, we present our technique of laser soldering with the half- watt diode laser and wavelength matched albumin-based solder. Our methodology of LTW relies on bonding between the outer surface of the wound edges and the solder. The 808-nm diode wavelength does not penetrate deep tissue, and thus relies on indocyanine green dye to localize photon absorption. Since 1994, we have performed LTW, as an adjunct to suturing (N = 25) and as a primary means of tissue closure (N = 11). Preoperative diagnoses included hypospadias, urethral stricture, urethral diverticulum, and urethral fistulae. Follow-up ranged between 3 months and 3 years to identify complications of wound healing, stricture, and fistula formation. In the 37 patients undergoing urethral surgery, no strictures or diverticula have resulted. None of the patients have had wound infections or poor wound healing. Overall, five patients have developed fistulas between 2 weeks and 6 months postoperatively. The location of the hypospadiac meatus was scrotal or penoscrotal in four of these patients. Two fistulas developed following sutureless urethroplasty (reoperative) after traumatic catheterization for urinary retention (one case for inadvertent catheter removal). In our initial experience, the overall complication rate using laser soldering was 19% compared to 24% in an historical control group. Half of the complications occurred in a reoperative situation. More recently, the overall fistula rate was 14%; however, for primary cases, the current fistula rate is only 6%. LTW is safe and easy to perform. The application of protein solders (+/- chromophores) have permitted far greater tensile strengths to be achieved than laser alone. Temperature-control and chromophore-control have permitted safety and efficacy to be achieved. Solder application site and technique are equally important in the success of the LTW process. A randomized, prospective study comparing LTW to suturing is ongoing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108-113
Number of pages6
JournalTechniques in Urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Hypospadias
  • Laser soldering
  • Technique
  • Urethra
  • Welding


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