Objectives. To characterize histopathologically the healing response of the prostatic urethra after laser thermal coagulation and standard transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP). Methods. The study included 31 patients who underwent radical prostatectomy because of malignancy. Twenty-two (first group) had laser radiation either at the time of surgery (18 patients) or from 1 to 12 weeks prior to prostatectomy (4 patients). Nine patients (second group) had TURP from 6 to 96 weeks prior to prostatectomy. Results. Coagulation necrosis followed by sloughing was observed during the first 10 weeks after laser radiation. After the first 10 weeks, the healing response was otherwise stereotypical and comparable for both groups of patients. Re-epithelialization was prominent and resulted from migration of proliferating epithelial cells from the remaining acinar and ductal epithelium. Squamous metaplasia was conspicuous and present indefinitely. Development of inflammatory reaction followed by granulation tissue and well- organized fibroblastic stroma were sequentially recognized, but less prominent. Complete re-epithelialization and wound sealing was not observed before the first 12 weeks of healing. Conclusions. Our study suggests that laser thermal coagulation and TURP are partial-thickness injuries. Because of the abundant germinal epithelium in the remaining prostatic glands and ducts, the healing response of the prostatic urethra is relatively unimpeded and free of contractures, analogous to second-degree skin burns.
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