Urology is the branch of surgery concerned with the urinary system of both males and females. It also covers health conditions related to male genitals and male reproduction.
The urinary tract consists of the:
The organs covered by urology include the:
Male reproductive organs (testes, epididymis, vas deferens, seminal vesicles, prostate and penis)
Urologists (also known as urological surgeons) treat problems of the female urinary system and the male genitourinary tract. They diagnose and treat disorders of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, prostate and male reproductive organs.
Nature of the work:
Urologists are surgeons, but much of their work also involves the medical management of conditions or disease without surgery. They work with patients of all ages from babies and children to elderly people.
Conditions treated include disorders of the:
Bladder – stones, tumours, congenital disorders, incontinence in women and men and erectile dysfunction
Urethra and prostate – tumours, obstructions and infections
Male reproductive organs – impotence, tumours, congenital disorders, infection, sterilisation and male infertility
Urologists use a thin lighted instrument known as a cystoscope to examine the bladder and urethra. Other conditions can also be treated using endoscopic (telescopic) procedures including the removal of bladder tumours and treatment of bladder and kidney stones.
Common surgery procedures include:
Removal of bladder, kidney or prostrate to treat cancer
Kidney stone removal
Formation of a stoma to divert urine into a bag
Bladder reconstruction after removal
The main sub-specialties include:
Endourology – prostate, bladder and kidney conditions, including kidney stones and small bladder tumours, treated using key-hole techniques
Urological oncology – prostate, bladder, kidney, testicular and penile cancer
Functional urology – the investigation and treatment of bladder symptoms and incontinence and neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and spinal injury
Andrology – male fertility and sexual health
Reconstructive urology – repair and restoration of the lower urinary tract, and particularly the urethra and management of urethral stricture disease