Urology is a field of medicine that focuses on surgical and medical diseases of the male and female urinary tract system and the male reproductive organs. Urology includes patients of both sexes and all ages, from newborn infants to elderly pensioners.
Urology is one of the most varied branches of surgery. Urologists are therefore trained to treat a wide range of conditions, not only with surgery but also with medications and other non-surgical techniques.
Quite often a urologist will sub-specialise to become particularly expert at treating one area within urology, for example kidney stones or prostate cancer.
Urology encompasses some of the most modern surgical technology. This includes 'key-hole' or minimally-invasive surgery, which can be performed directly by the surgeon, known as laparoscopy, or with the assistance of a robot that holds the surgical instruments, known as robot-assisted surgery.
A camera and small instruments are passed through the abdominal wall and then carbon dioxide is used to inflate a space inside the body. This allows the surgery to be performed internally with reduced pain afterwards, and a faster recovery period.
A lot of urological surgery is also performed inside the bodies natural tubes and channels that carry the urine from the kidneys to the outside. This is called endoscopic surgery, and doesn't require any cutting or stitching at all, and therefore generally results in minimal pain after surgery and no scarring.
Endoscopy allows urologists to treat kidney stones using tiny cameras and even a laser. Kidney stones can sometimes be shattered using sound waves that pass through the body from the outside, meaning there is no need for surgery at all!
What are some common urological conditions?
- Kidney stones
- Benign prostatic enlargement
- Prostate cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Urinary incontinence
- Bladder problems
- Erectile dysfunction
- Male infertility
- Urinary infections
- Congenital (inborn) kidney problems
- And less commonly - penile cancer